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Troubled Heads: Challenges Posed by Ageing Brains
Selina Wray, Carol Brayne, Matt Norton

  • Thursday 9 June 2016, 7.00PM to 8.30pm
  • Free admission
    Booking required
  • Merchant Adventurers' Hall, Fossgate (map)
  • Wheelchair accessible

Event details

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Old age poses some significant challenges, not least in the field of neuroscience and age-related neurological disorders. Over the past couple of years, newspaper headlines have prophesied a ‘dementia epidemic’, although more recent research evidence suggests that the situation may not be as dire as previously thought.

A distinguished panel of experts will explore the nature of the public health challenge. Join them as they discuss current and potential future scientific advances, and therapeutic interventions to tackle age-related neurological disorders, including the various forms of dementia. The event includes an audience Q&A.

Session One

Dementia: Challenging Misperceptions and Powering Research

If there’s one health issue that would benefit from a different way of thinking, it’s dementia. Society’s relationship to the condition is plagued by fatalism, misunderstanding and fear, with only 23 per cent of people recognising that the condition is caused by brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.

As the UK’s leading dementia research charity, Alzheimer’s Research UK is working hard to change perceptions about the condition and fund pioneering research to improve diagnose, prevention and treatment. Matt Norton, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Research UK, will discuss how public and political attitudes to dementia have changed over the past five years, what positive steps are being taken to tackle the condition and what still remains to be done to change the outlook for those affected.

About the speaker

Dr Matthew Norton joined Alzheimer's Research UK as Head of Policy and Public Affairs in 2013 and leads on strategy and policy development. He has a PhD in Public Policy and worked as a Senior Policy Advisor at the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, focusing particularly on health and social care. Prior to joining Alzheimer’s Research UK Matthew worked in policy and research for Age UK.

Session Two

A Window into the Brain: How Technological Advances are Helping the Fight Against Dementia

Progress towards understanding dementia has been challenging, in part due to the inaccessibility of the human brain during life.  Selina Wray will discuss recent technological advances in our ability to image the brain during life, grow human brain cells in the laboratory, and how these are accelerating our understanding of dementia and improving diagnosis and the development of potential treatments.

About the speaker

Dr Selina Wray is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Molecular Neuroscience at UCL Institute of Neurology.  Her research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of dementia using patient-derived stem cells to create “disease in a dish” laboratory models.

Session Three

The Dementia Tsunami: A Reality Check

Carol Brayne of the University of Cambridge will discuss the ways in which we learn about dementia and its importance, and how this influences our research and policies for care and reduction of risk.

About the speaker

Carol Brayne is a Professor of Public Health Medicine and Director of the Cambridge Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge.  She is a medically qualified epidemiologist and public health academic. Her main research has been longitudinal studies of older people following changes over time with a public health perspective and focus on the brain. She is Lead Principal Investigator in the Medical Research Council (MRC) Cognitive Function and Ageing Studies and other population based studies, and has played a lead role in teaching and training in epidemiology and public health at Cambridge University.   She is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

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