New animation created to improve general public’s understanding of dementia

Alzheimer’s Research UK  | March 2018  | Bryan Cranston confronts misunderstanding of dementia…using an orange

A new animation created by Aardman Animations and starring Bryan Cranston, has been released as part of a campaign to address misunderstanding around dementia – using nothing more than an orange.  The animation follows a recent YouGov poll commissioned by Alzheimer’s Research UK, which asked the general public what they think dementia is and who it affects, only 23% of British adults specifically mentioned brain disease or degeneration (Alzheimer’s Research UK). 


The two minute film centres on an orange that gradually strips away to demonstrate how the diseases that cause dementia, most commonly Alzheimer’s, physically attack the brain. Through damage caused by the disease, the brain of a person with Alzheimer’s can weigh around 140 grams less than a healthy brain – about the weight of an orange.

Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“Bryan Cranston’s support of our #ShareTheOrange campaign will help bring global attention to an important truth – that dementia is not an inevitability of age, but is caused by diseases that we can fight. The condition has been blighted by misconceptions for generations, and it’s now time to turn our fatalism into hope, and research holds the key to overcoming the diseases that drive the symptoms. By sharing this film and joining the millions who shared our first campaign film, we can educate and inspire around dementia, and make it our next great medical research success story. Research has made major breakthroughs in other disease areas in the past generation, and people with dementia must now benefit from the same.”

The full news item is available from Alzheimer’s Research UK 

Dementia UK: ‘Together again’

Dementia UK have created a short animated film to show the differences Admiral nurses make in bringing families affected by dementia together again, even for the briefest of moments.

This animation explores those feelings of being lost in dementia – and how the support and guidance of an Admiral Nurse can help bring people back together again.


More about Dementia UK and the Admiral Nurse Service available here

Community pharmacies in England providing improved asthma and dementia care, NHS England figures show

NHS England | Improved asthma and dementia care from community pharmacists under new quality scheme |

Since April 2017, over 97 per cent of pharmacies – 11,410 out of approximately 11,700 – took part in the The Quality Payments Scheme, this  provides an incentive to deliver new clinical services, to encourage more people to use their local pharmacist.


The scheme had three key foci:

  •  patient safety
  • patient experience
  • clinical effectiveness

Over 12,500 asthma patients at high risk of suffering a severe asthma attack have been identified and referred for a full asthma review, whilst 70,000 pharmacy staff have become ‘Dementia Friends’ in order to offer greater awareness regarding the needs of people with dementia. ​
The scheme ran between December 2016 and March 2018,  NHS England is currently considering how best to implement the successes of this scheme over the long-term.

The full details are available from NHS England 

Current evidence on diet, cognitive impairment and dementia.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) position statement on current evidence on diet, cognitive impairment and dementia.


This position statement by SACN provides an overview of the currently available evidence on nutrition and cognitive impairment and dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease) in adults. It considers evidence relevant to the prevention – not the treatment – of cognitive impairment or dementia.

The position statement concludes that:

  • the evidence base in this area is very limited
  • there is no evidence that specific nutrients or food supplements affect the risk of cognitive impairment or dementia
  • there is some observational evidence that greater adherence to a Mediterranean dietary pattern may be associated with reduced risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia

While there is no single Mediterranean diet, such diets tend to include higher intakes of vegetables, fruit, legumes, cereals, fish and monounsaturated fatty acids; lower intakes of saturated fat, dairy products and meat; and a moderate alcohol intake. Mediterranean type diets broadly align with current UK healthy eating recommendations as depicted in the Eatwell Guide (PHE, 2016).

Full document: SACN statement on diet, cognitive impairment and dementias

You can find more information about SACN online.

Study finds increased risk of dementia for adults with congenital heart disease

According to new research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, adults with congential heart disease (CHD) could be at a higher risk of developing dementia compared with the general population, particularly for early onset dementia.  The Danish cohort study, included 10, 632  CHD survivors in the sample; for each CHD adult, 10 individuals from the general population were randomly sampled and matched on sex and birth year.

This study found the risk of all-cause dementia was increased by =60% compared with a matched general population cohort. The risk was higher for early onset dementia (<65 years of age; more than double) than late-onset dementia (=30% elevated risk) and was elevated for all levels of congenital heart disease complexity,  including those with cyanotic potential.

The study’s key findings are:

  • Adults with congenital heart disease are at increased  risk for dementia, particularly early onset dementia, and these results support the importance of understanding the risk of adverse long-term neurological outcomes in the growing and aging population with congenital heart disease.
  • Although it remains unknown whether the results  are directly generalizable to children diagnosed today, they appear relevant for the large population
    of adults with congenital heart disease alive today.
  • In the absence of disease-modifying treatments for  most dementias, the specific influence of etiologic factors on congenital heart disease is a potential
    target for future investigations to delay dementia onset in this vulnerable population


Background—More children with congenital heart disease (CHD) are surviving to adulthood, and CHD is associated with risk factors for dementia. We compared the risk of dementia in CHD adults to that of the general population.

Methods—In this cohort study, we used medical registries and a medical record review covering all Danish hospitals to identify adults with CHD diagnosed between 1963 and 2012. These individuals with CHD were followed from January 1, 1981, 30 years of age, or date of first CHD registration (index date for matched members of the general population cohort) until hospital diagnosis of dementia, death, emigration, or end of study (December 31, 2012). For each individual with CHD, we identified 10 members of the general population utilizing the Danish Civil Registration System matched on sex and birth year. We computed cumulative incidences and hazard ratios (HRs) of dementia, adjusting for sex and birth year.

Results—The cumulative incidence of dementia was 4% by 80 years of age in 10 632 adults with CHD (46% male). The overall HR comparing adults with CHD with the general population cohort was 1.6 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3−2.0). The HR among individuals with CHD without extracardiac defects was 1.4 (95% CI, 1.1−1.8). Adults with mild-to-moderate CHD had an HR of 1.5 (95% CI, 1.1−2.0), whereas the HR was 2.0 (95% CI, 1.2−3.3) for severe CHD, including univentricular hearts. The HR for early onset dementia (<65 years of age) was 2.6 (95% CI, 1.8−3.8), whereas the late-onset HR was 1.3 (95% CI, 1.0−1.8).

Conclusions—CHD was associated with an increased risk of dementia compared with the general population, in particular for early onset dementia. Further understanding of dementia risk in the population with CHD is a potential target for future investigation.

Abstract from American Heart Association’s Circulation 

Full reference: Carina N. Bagge, C. N. et al | Risk of Dementia in Adults with Congenital Heart Disease: Population- Based Cohort Study | Circulation |Doi:

The full text article can be accessed here 

The full story is at Science Daily 

Psychosocial interventions for people with dementia

New research finds good evidence to suggest that multi-component exercise with sufficient intensity improves global physical and cognitive functions and activities of daily living skills for people with dementia | Aging & Mental Health

Objectives: Over the last 10 years there has been a multitude of studies of psychosocial interventions for people with dementia. However, clinical services face a dilemma about which intervention should be introduced into clinical practice because of the inconsistency in some of the findings between different studies and the differences in the study qualities and trustworthiness of evidence. There was a need to provide a comprehensive summary of the best evidence to illustrate what works.

Methods: A review of the systematic reviews of psychosocial interventions in dementia published between January 2010 and February 2016 was conducted.

Results: Twenty-two reviews (8 physical, 7 cognitive, 1 physical/cognitive and 6 other psychosocial interventions) with a total of 197 unique studies met the inclusion criteria. Both medium to longer-term multi-component exercise of moderate to high intensity, and, group cognitive stimulation consistently show benefits. There is not sufficient evidence to determine whether psychological or social interventions might improve either mood or behaviour due to the heterogeneity of the studies and interventions included in the reviews.

Conclusion: There is good evidence that multi-component exercise with sufficient intensity improves global physical and cognitive functions and activities of daily living skills. There is also good evidence that group-based cognitive stimulation improves cognitive functions, social interaction and quality of life. This synthesis also highlights the potential importance of group activities to improve social integration for people with dementia. Future research should investigate longer-term specific outcomes, consider the severity and types of dementia, and investigate mechanisms of change.

Full reference: McDermott, O et al. | Psychosocial interventions for people with dementia: a synthesis of systematic reviews |Aging & Mental Health | Published online 17 Jan 2018

View the full article here