In the news – Dementia, Drugs, and Dolphins

Scientists in Scotland are investigating a potential prevention strategy for Alzheimer’s using light to stimulate brainwaves. The £50,000 research project in Strathclyde, Scotland, is part of £600,000 worth of new funding by Alzheimer’s Research UK in the country announced recently. The story was covered by the BBC. Read the full story on this fascinating project that you’re funding.

Researchers found that dementia risk was lower in people taking blood-thinning drugs. Scientists studying the number of new dementia cases in people with an abnormal heart rhythm found that treatment with oral anticoagulant drugs reduces the risk of dementia.

The story was widely reported in the papers, including the Times with a comment from our Director of Research Dr Carol Routledge in the Guardian, the Daily Mail and the Express. Read our full reaction here.

Dolphin’s might show signs of amyloid plaques and tau tangles. The story was reported by the Times with a quote from Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Dr Laura Phipps.

“Alzheimer’s has previously been thought as a uniquely human disease, but this new research suggests that dolphins show two hallmark brain-changes that define Alzheimer’s disease in people. We don’t know whether dolphins with these changes also show symptoms equivalent to those of people with Alzheimer’s disease.”

Read more about this fascinating study here.

Dementia health services need to improve and be prepared for new treatments according to Dr Matt Norton, our Director of Policy, who was featured in the Daily Express and the Sunday Post following a report co-authored by dementia experts. The report showed one of the best hopes for preventing dementia is a ‘stepped approach’, you can read it here.

Reading tests found subtle changes in language processing in the brains of people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) who go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Results suggest that a reading test could identify those at risk of developing the disease. Dr Rosa Sancho, our Head of Research told the Daily Express:

“Further larger studies would be needed to see whether such tests were sensitive enough to add benefits on top of current diagnostic methods in future.”

You can read the full story on our website here.

Percentage of the week

Lower risk of dementia in those with atrial fibrillation who take anticoagulants compared to those who don’t, according to one new study.

We have translated our pocket-sized quick guide to dementia booklets into seven languages; Arabic, Bengali, Gujarati, Polish, Punjabi, Urdu and Welsh. Get yours now via the ‘info about dementia‘ tab of our website. Find out more about our new booklets and what dementia means for ethnic minorities in the UK by reading our latest blog.

Last, but by no means least:
Alzheimer’s Research UK champion Harry Gardner has just re-released his single ‘Not alone’ with all profits being generously donated to Alzheimer’s Research UK. He reached number 2 on the iTunes singer songwriter chart. See what Harry said by reading our news story here. Want to help him fight back against dementia? Get your copy of the single here.

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About the author

Ed Pinches

Team: Science news