Dementia Care and Prevention

Ultimately, dementia basic science and diagnostic advances need to be focused on the individual, their relationships and the wider community. This theme benefits from a strong research base in user-centred and care-delivery design, with particular focus on the dementia workforce. There is established work focusing on quality of life in dementia subgroups, and on evaluating the nature of care provision in the community. New models of care have been pioneered including digital self-management provision (My Medical Record).

This theme has strong relationships to the NHS, social care and third sector organisations. The Wessex NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC), focused on closing the translational gap from clinical evidence to direct patient benefit has Ageing and Dementia as a core theme, with national ARC leadership of this area. Theme members already work with the NHSI Clinical Networks, regional commissioners and the STP, the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and the Alzheimer’s Society which supports the Dementia Doctoral Training Centre. This theme provides expertise which can influence local and national policy with the potential for consultancy work in this area.

Early life factors, including socio-economic factors, nutrition, environmental factors, from conception, are associated with the risk of dementia and cognitive impairment in later life. This theme aims to explore those early life factors and their effects on disease risk factors in later life, with a view to develop new ways to reduce risk factors and prevent dementia development.

Early development of pathological features associated with dementia are analysed using stem cells derived from patients, mimicking some biochemical features in the brain of those patients. This allows an early time window into the development of pathological features and a model to analyse ways to prevent their appearance.