BRAIN MOT FOR THE OVER 55s KEY TO AVOIDING ALZHEIMERS
Top neuroscience research centre says brain tests should
be available to all - before qualifying for the bus pass
Memory tests should be introduced for everyone over the
age of 55, in a bid to identify whether they are at risk
of succumbing to Alzheimer’s disease.
According to leading psychiatrist and international expert
on memory, Professor Tonmoy Sharma, the problem with Alzheimer’s
is that by the time it is diagnosed it is almost too late.
Damage to the brain has already been done and most of the
drugs available at present simply slow down the progress
of the disease for 1-2 years.
Prof. Sharma heads the Clinical Neuroscience Research Centre
(CNRC) in Dartford, which currently carries out studies
on a specific type of memory loss called Mild Cognitive
Impairment (MCI). Researchers have identified this as an
alarm bell for the likely onset of Alzheimer’s disease
People affected by MCI may have good thinking and reasoning
skills, but their short-term memory is particularly bad.
This kind of memory loss is different from that associated
with normal ageing.
In a week where new brain research is at the top of the
international agenda - Brain Awareness Week * (15 –
21 March), Prof Sharma says: “a memory check for the
public over the age of 55 is as important as blood pressure,
cholesterol and blood sugar checks. It means people can
take an active role in preserving their brain function.”
CNRC uses state of the art software on a customised desktop
and touch-screen to carry out these tests. Prof. Sharma
hopes to see this kind of system – the Cogtest System
- in GP practises country-wide in the near future.
“Knowing that you have a problem is the first step
towards prevention. Drugs to stave off age-induced memory
impairment are on the horizon. A number of these drugs are
currently in clinical trials,” adds Sharma.
Linda Berkowitz, CNRC direct line: 01322 62 65 32 mobile:
07990 927 910
Sanchayita Goswami, CNRC direct line: 01322 62 03 32 mobile:
07900 673 340
· Prof. Sharma available for comment
· Picture attached - more available
* About Brain Awareness Week
Brain Awareness Week is an international effort organized
by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives to advance public
awareness about the progress, promise, and benefits of brain
research. The Dana Alliance is joined in the campaign by
partners around the world, including medical and research
organizations; patient advocacy groups; the National Institutes
of Health, and other government agencies; service groups;
hospitals and universities; schools; and professional organizations.
About Professor Tonmoy Sharma
One of the leading researchers in Europe on psychosis and
cognition, he is Director of the Clinical Neuroscience Research
Centre (CNRC) in Dartford, UK. As Head of Development and
Chief Executive of Cogtest plc, he leads an international
team in the development of the Cogtest system, a state of
the art software system that measures brain function. (www.cogtest.com.)
He is a leading researcher in brain function using fMRI
(functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and has undertaken
ground-breaking research, showing that by early examination
of the brains of people with certain symptoms, we can identify
and treat severe illnesses like schizophrenia at an earlier
stage This means a better future for those who suffer such
About the Clinical Neuroscience Research Centre
The CNRC’s mission is to help improve the lives of
people with mental illnesses. The centre is dedicated to
innovative research into more accurate diagnoses of, and
more effective treatments for, a range of conditions, including
dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, depression,
schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (manic depression), anxiety
and sleep disorders. The CNRC provides a variety of important
services related to the diagnosis and treatment of mental
illnesses. These services use state-of-the-art diagnostic
tools and the latest treatment options. These include: The
Memory Clinic. It uses state of the art diagnostics to test
memory problems and advises participants on programmes of
treatment. The memory clinic is free to members of the public
over the age of 55 who have concerns about their memory.
Those diagnosed with MCI or other memory problems will have
counselling and may be offered the opportunity to join a
About Alzheimer’s Disease
It is estimated that 18 million people the world over have
dementia. The figure is set to rise to 34 million by 2025.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.
Early diagnosis of the condition and the search for better
treatments is now crucial, with an ageing population and
the cost of the disease to sufferers, their families and