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  • New PM seeks cross-party deal on care

    New PM seeks cross-party deal on care

    29.07.19 In the Commons last week, new PM Boris Johnson has challenged Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to work on a cross-party deal to fix the social care crisis. Johnson said: “I suggest it is high time that this House again tried to work across parties to find a cross-party consensus about the way forward. That is absolutely vital. If the Opposition are not interested, we will fix it ourselves, but I urge him to think of the good of the nation.” Amid the turmoil of the Johnson ministerial reshuffle, there was an oasis of political calm for the care sector – Matt Hancock remains as health and social care secretary and Caroline Dinenage will stay in her role as care minister in the new government. A petition started by the Daily Mail, calling on Johnson to tackle the social care funding crisis, had passed 190,000 signatures by this morning.

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  • E-Newsletter - 26 July 2019

    E-Newsletter - 26 July 2019

    Here is this week’s round-up of dementia care news, stories and comment. This week's topics include a new BBC initiative to bring music to everyone with dementia and new figures on emergency hospital admissions from care homes. It is an editor's selection which we hope you will enjoy.

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  • Does lack of sleep or medication increase risk of dementia?

    Does lack of sleep or medication increase risk of dementia?

    26.07.19 Taking sleeping pills in mid-life may increase risk of dementia in later life, researchers claim. It is not known whether the medications themselves or the sleeplessness they are designed to counteract were responsible for the heightened risk, but the effect was particularly notable in older white adults. “Sleep is a hot topic in dementia research. Emerging findings suggest that damaged proteins can be cleared out of our brain while we sleep, which could lower our risk of dementia – but we’re waiting for proof,” said Alzheimer’s Society research manager Clare Walton. In a separate development, an insomnia drug called Belsomra, from pharmaceutical company Merck, could soon be licensed in America as a treatment for sleep disturbance in people with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s. Around 45% of Alzheimer’s patients suffer from insomnia, the company said, adding that Belsomra had shown evidence of effectiveness in this group unlike other sleep medications.

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  • Hearing aids can maintain brain function

    Hearing aids can maintain brain function

    25.07.19 Building on previous research showing that hearing loss is a significant risk factor for dementia, a new study indicates that wearing a hearing aid is a way to maintain better brain function. The online “PROTECT” study of 25,000 people aged 50 or over indicates that encouraging those with hearing loss to wear hearing aids may reduce the risk of dementia. PROTECT lead researcher Dr Anne Corbett said: “Previous research has shown that hearing loss is linked to a loss of brain function, memory and an increased risk of dementia. Our work is one of the largest studies to look at the impact of wearing a hearing aid and suggests that wearing a hearing aid could actually protect the brain. We now need more research and a clinical trial to test this and perhaps feed into policy to help keep people healthy in later life.”

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  • Apathy is forgotten symptom and ignored in care settings

    Apathy is forgotten symptom and ignored in care settings

    24.07.19 Apathy is a forgotten and distinctive symptom of dementia with a bigger impact on people’s ability to function from day to day than memory loss. In a new study, researchers found that apathy was present in nearly half of people with dementia and described it as distinct from depression. Apathy was marked by diminished emotional expression and loss of interest in things, often being ignored in settings like care homes where the focus was on aggression, they said. Dr Miguel de Silva Vasconcelos, of the University of Exeter and King’s College London, commented: “Apathy is an under-researched and often ignored symptom of dementia. It can be overlooked because people with apathy seem less disruptive and less engaging, but it has a huge impact on the quality of life of people living with dementia, and their families. It’s now time this symptom was recognised and prioritised in research and understanding.”

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  • Women at higher dementia risk than men

    Women at higher dementia risk than men

    23.07.19 At least two further research studies presented at AAIC 2019 highlighted biochemical differences between women and men that could help to account for the larger numbers of women with dementia worldwide. Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in the US discovered that the toxic tau protein associated with dementia and cognitive decline spreads more rapidly through the brains of women with Alzheimer’s. Meanwhile, University of Miami researchers suggested that there are sex-specific genes that heighten the risk of dementia only among women. “It is true that women live longer than men and age is a key risk factor for dementia, but this alone does not account for why there are twice as many women living with dementia as men,” Carragher said.

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  • Eleven DEEP groups win grants to be in driving seat of research

    Eleven DEEP groups win grants to be in driving seat of research

    22.07.19 Eleven community groups from across the UK and all led by people with dementia have been awarded grants to design and carry out their own research. All members of DEEP (Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project), the groups will carry out interviews, focus groups and surveys as part of their quest to test out what it means for people with dementia to “be in the driving seat of research”. The grants, which are channelled through a project called Dementia Enquirers facilitated by social enterprise Innovations in Dementia, were made possible by a £700,000 award from the National Lottery Community Fund. One of the aims of Dementia Enquirers is to challenge established methods of research and promote the involvement of people with dementia.

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  • E-Newsletter - 19 July 2019

    E-Newsletter - 19 July 2019

    Here is this week’s round-up of dementia care news, stories and comment. This week's topics include exciting new developments in setting research agendas and new research projects including apathy in care settings and the importance of hearing aids. It is an editor's selection which we hope you will enjoy.

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  • Young dementia: new film resources

    Young dementia: new film resources

    Age-appropriate information on young onset dementia is thin on the ground, says Mandy Blair, who describes how a group of activists took matters into their own hands

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  • Restoring relationships through reminiscence

    Restoring relationships through reminiscence

    Sally Knocker reports on the European Reminiscence Network’s recent conference in Dublin, Ireland

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