In 2015, there were an estimated 850,000 people in the UK living, predicted to rise to 1 million people by 2025. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, but there are other types, including vascular and fronto-temporal dementia. Dementia has a devastating effect on both individuals and their families, and is as yet, incurable.
Recent research suggests changes in the brain may precede symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease by many years. These changes suggest that a very early disease process has started before people develop the typical symptoms of dementia such as memory loss. If this can be proved correct then doctors may be able to identify disease at a very early stage enabling delaying or preventing of the disease from developing into dementia. Research has previously focused on very elderly individuals with dementia. Our research, however, focuses on people in middle age to identify biological and psychological factors which may increase the risk of dementia in later life. Once we have identified which factors are changing we would like to select those people at high risk and intervene in this process. These interventions might be lifestyle changes or measures to affect the risk of an individual developing dementia.
We are extremely grateful to the Alzheimer’s Society for their continued support and funding of the PREVENT Dementia study.