Tuesday 17 July, Member of The Scottish Parliament Gordon MacDonald will see first-hand the innovative research taking place to find life-changing treatments for dementia when he tours the Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. As part of this tour, the MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands will visit with Dr Jill Fowler, an Alzheimer’s Research UK Senior Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh.
Dr Fowler is leading a pioneering project investigating whether a protein, Nrf2, can protect against damage caused by reduced blood flow in the brain, which may be an early contributor to Alzheimer’s disease. By closely examining this protein, scientists will be able to understand more about its role in protecting the brain. They hope to use this knowledge to develop interventions to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, the most common cause of dementia.
Gordon MacDonald MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands said, “There is extremely valuable work taking place in the Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, and other institutions across Scotland. It’s great to learn more about specific research projects which can contribute to timely diagnoses, as well as skilled and well-coordinated support for people with living with Alzheimer’s disease. Scotland is recognised as a world leader when it comes to Alzheimer’s policy and developing our knowledge in this area is vital to progressing how we diagnose, treat and care for those affected.”
Dr Jill Fowler, Alzheimer’s Research UK Senior Research Fellow, said, “To bring about a life-changing treatment for dementia, neurodegeneration scientists must be able to work collaboratively, pooling expertise and learnings from around the world. Mr MacDonald and other MSPs play an important role in making sure we can do this. We need people in positions of power to make dementia research a priority if we are to help those living with the condition.”
Dr Matthew Norton, Director of Policy and Impact at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said, “Because dementia is caused by physical diseases, we know that through research we can find a way to stop or prevent the condition. We must see greater support for research that develops our understanding of the processes that could protect our brains and tackle the diseases that cause dementia, so we can develop the tools we need to stop the condition.”
Alzheimer’s Research UK is calling on the government and NHS to drive innovation through a desperately needed increase in funding for dementia research, ensuring the UK can recruit top researchers post-Brexit, and growing the data resources for research by encouraging people to sign-up to take part in studies through Join Dementia Research.
A recent YouGov poll for Alzheimer’s Research UK found that one in three Scottish adults say they believe dementia is the biggest health challenge facing the NHS in the next 70 years in terms of the cost to the NHS and the number of people affected. A third of Scottish adults, and a quarter of UK adults, selected dementia from a group of eight major health conditions, the highest percentage for any disease area.