Staffordshire University Researchers Dispell the Myth that Dementia is Completely Unpreventable
UK (News4us.com) October 6, 2010
DEMENTIA is preventable according researchers at Staffordshire University who believe that a healthy heart breeds a healthy mind.
Dispelling the myth that all dementia is completely unpreventable is the aim of a new programme being developed by the University’s Centre for Ageing and Mental Health.
A University researcher has received almost £40,000 in funding to teach primary healthcare workers in Staffordshire about reducing the chances of contracting vascular dementia through exercise, eating and drinking in moderation and quitting smoking.
Derek Beeston, Reader in Ageing and Mental Health at Staffordshire University’s Centre for Ageing and Mental Health, said: “A lot of reports say that dementia is not preventable but that clearly isn’t the case.
“A large portion of vascular dementia is caused by problems within the circulatory system because it reduces the amount of blood getting to the brain. A high proportion of circulatory problems are caused by people not looking after themselves.
“The Government has been encouraging people to get healthy, to reduce their chances of diabetes, to reduce cholesterol, to give up smoking and to exercise – and that improves cardiovascular health.
“What we are saying is that if you do that you can reduce the chances of vascular dementia as well. Our message is that by looking after your heart, you are looking after your brain.”
Working alongside Dr Buki Adeyemo, Consultant Psychogeriatrician at North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, Staffordshire University is now developing courses for primary healthcare workers to teach them about reducing the risk for vascular dementia.
The funding, from NHS North Staffordshire Locality Workforce Board, will also be used to spread the message to the wider public with a media campaign.
Derek added: “The estimates are that if you could delay the onset of dementia by just five years – say from 75-years-old to 80 – you would half its incidence, it would give people a full life free from dementia until they die from natural causes in old age.”
Notes to editors:
Derek Beeston, Reader in Ageing and Mental Health at Staffordshire University, is available for interviews by contacting the Staffordshire University press office. Contact details below.
Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. Vascular dementia affects different people in different ways and the speed of the progression varies from person to person. For further information see http://alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?categoryID=200137&documentID=161&pageNumber=1.
The Centre for Ageing and Mental Health at Staffordshire University has been established to provide research, consultancy and education and to promote innovation in health and social care services for the older person. For further information see http://www.staffs.ac.uk/schools/health/ihr/camh/
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