Join Dementia Research launches in Northern Ireland today; during World Alzheimer’s Month.
Northern Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride, said:
‚ÄúNorthern Ireland participates in world-class dementia research through the work of the Northern Ireland Clinical Research Network and the programme of research in Dementia Care the Department has commissioned through the HSC R&D Division of the Public Health Agency, along with our funding partners, The Atlantic Philanthropies. We need people to take part in these studies to improve the future care of people with dementia. I am delighted to support this initiative and would encourage those living with dementia and their carers, as well as healthy volunteers, to sign up to Join Dementia Research.‚Äù
Dementia currently affects 850,000 people in the UK and almost 20,000 of those are in Northern Ireland. However, the wider impact of dementia is far greater, with 25 million of the UK population having a close friend or family member affected.
Health and Social Care, Northern Ireland are supporting the rollout of Join Dementia Research across Northern Ireland. Eleanor Ross, Public Health Agency, who co-chairs the Northern Ireland Dementia Strategy Implementation Group with Seamus McErlean, Health and Social Care Board, said:
‚ÄúJoin Dementia Research has seen success in connecting volunteers to dementia research studies in England. We would like to emulate this success in Northern Ireland, giving people with dementia and their carers opportunities to take part in critical research into the condition‚Äù.
One of the studies recruiting for volunteers in Northern Ireland is called AFFECT, which is testing whether a commonly used treatment for high blood pressure can double up as a treatment for people with vascular dementia. Volunteers who are recruited to the study will take the drug or a placebo pill for a year and undergo memory tests and two brain scans to monitor their progress.
Professor Peter Passmore, from Queen’s University Belfast, is conducting this research and using Join Dementia Research to recruit volunteers. He said:
‚ÄúI am delighted that the Join Dementia Research initiative is now to be available in N Ireland. Dementia of whatever type, is caused by neurodegenerative diseases and at present there is no cure. There is a need for research into a great number of aspects of this condition. This will involve studies in people with dementia, their carers and also comparative studies with people who are not affected by any memory loss.
For over 20 years I have been involved with research into this condition and the advances in our understanding of the diseases involved has improved significantly. Local people, with and without dementia have been very good in terms of their participation in our studies. Join Dementia Research will enable people to sign up to facilitate further research and from the researcher aspect this will greatly enhance our ability to recruit people and further expand our understanding of all aspects of dementia.‚Äù
Gordon Kennedy, from Belfast, who cared for his wife with dementia, said:
‚ÄúDuring her illness, I supported my wife, Phyllis, through her participation in several clinical trials at Queen’s University, under the supervision of Peter Passmore and his team. This experience has led to my involvement as a Research Volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Society for the past 12 years.
Getting involved in research is so important to getting a clearer understanding of the condition and the devastating impact it can have on families. I would definitely encourage others to get involved too.‚Äù