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 

NHS Health Check: Dementia

A range of tools and resources on Dementia Risk Reduction

  • The NHS Health Check dementia leaflet has been developed to support the dementia information given to those aged 65-74 years of age during their appointment.  These leaflets are available to order free of charge in a variety of formats and languages through the Department of Health order line
  • NHS Health Check’s top tips draw on current evidence and aims to help inform local decisions on how the NHS Health Check programme is delivered.
  • The revised NHS Health Check 30 minute e-learning for practitioners to introduce the dementia risk reduction component, updated January 2018
  • A page providing links to Training tools and resourcesThese include:
    • 3 Videos-1) Dementia and the NHS Health Check; 2) Delivering the dementia component; 3) A walk through the dementia leaflet
    • A slide set on ‘Helping your brain to stay healthy’
    • NHS Health Check Dementia Component-Prompt sheet for Health Care Practitioners
    • References and statistics to support the dementia NHS Health Check slide deck
    • How to use the NHS Health Check dementia leaflet in your appointments

The video below highlights ways to reduce the risk of developing dementia:


More support needed for thousands of informal dementia carers

Involving family members and friends who serve as ‘informal carers’ for people with dementia could offer improved insights for healthcare professionals, and help alleviate feelings of stress, guilt and isolation felt by many who fulfill these dutiesDementia | via ScienceDaily

There are an estimated 46.8 million people worldwide living with dementia in 2015, being cared for usually by family members or friends (informal caregivers). The challenges faced by informal caregivers often lead to increased levels of stress, burden and risk of care-recipient institutionalisation.

The overarching aim of this study was to explore the experiences and perceptions of informal caregivers of people with dementia when interacting with the health care system, and whether the support received acted as a mediator of caregiver stress. The secondary aim was to investigate healthcare professionals’ views and current practice regarding people with dementia and their interactions with informal caregivers.

We employed a qualitative research design, using focus groups and one face-to-face interview with a purposive sample of informal caregivers and healthcare professionals in Lincolnshire, UK. Data were collected between March and July 2015. We used the stress-process model of stress in caregivers as a theoretical framework.

We interviewed 18 caregivers and 17 healthcare professionals. Five themes, mapped to the stress-process in caregivers’ model, captured the main challenges faced by caregivers and the type of support they wanted from health care services. Primary stressors included the challenge of diagnosing dementia; caregivers’ needs and expectations of an in-depth knowledge and understanding of dementia from healthcare professionals; and need for carer education. Secondary role strain included lack of support and mismatch of communication and expectations. Caregiver involvement in monitoring care and disease was a potential mediator tool.

Fragmentation of dementia care services, lack of training for healthcare professionals and the dearth of information for caregivers means health care services are only partially fulfilling a support role. In turn, lack of support may be intensifying caregiver stress leading to worsening in their health and well-being; thus, potentially increasing the risk of institutionalisation of their care-recipient.

Read more at ScienceDaily

Full reference: Despina Laparidou et al. |Caregivers’ interactions with health care services – Mediator of stress or added strain? Experiences and perceptions of informal caregivers of people with dementia – A qualitative study | Dementia | First Published January 31, 2018

Dementia on the downslide, especially among people with more education

In a hopeful sign for the health of the nation’s brains, the percentage of American seniors with dementia is dropping, a new study finds | ScienceDaily


The downward trend has emerged despite something else the study shows: a rising tide of three factors that are thought to raise dementia risk by interfering with brain blood flow, namely diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

Those with the most years of education had the lowest chances of developing dementia, according to the findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine by a team from the University of Michigan. This may help explain the larger trend, because today’s seniors are more likely to have at least a high school diploma than those in the same age range a decade ago.

With the largest generation in American history now entering the prime years for dementia onset, the new results add to a growing number of recent studies in the United States and other countries that suggest a downward trend in dementia prevalence. These findings may help policy-makers and economic forecasters adjust their predictions for the total impact of Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions.

Read the full review here

Read the original research article here

Psychological Dimensions of Dementia: Putting the Person at the Centre of Care

The following report, put together by the British Psychological Society Dementia Advisory Group, presents a psychological perspective on the nature and experience of dementia

Image source: BPS 

As well as outlining the roles and contributions of psychologists in the field of dementia care (particularly in supporting a move towards addressing dementia not only in terms of the underlying disease but also in considering the practical dimensions of social and cognitive disability associated with it), this report presents recommendations for action in the following areas:

  • Prevention
  • Assessment
  • Planning of care
  • Treatment and support
  • Dealing efectively and appropriately with families and carers
  • Training and research

These recommendations were produced in consultation with people experiencing dementia, their families, and their carers, in order to present a truly person-centred approach to dementia treatment and management in the UK.

Read the overview here

Read the full report here

Dementia training programmes for staff working in general hospital settings – a systematic review of the literature

Scerri, A. et al. Ageing & Mental Health. Published online: 23 Sep 2016


Objectives: Although literature describing and evaluating training programmes in hospital settings increased in recent years, there are no reviews that summarise these programmes. This review sought to address this, by collecting the current evidence on dementia training programmes directed to staff working in general hospitals.

Method: Literature from five databases were searched, based on a number of inclusion criteria. The selected studies were summarised and data was extracted and compared using narrative synthesis based on a set of pre-defined categories. Methodological quality was assessed.

Results: Fourteen peer-reviewed studies were identified with the majority being pre-test post-test investigations. No randomised controlled trials were found. Methodological quality was variable with selection bias being the major limitation. There was a great variability in the development and mode of delivery although, interdisciplinary ward based, tailor-made, short sessions using experiential and active learning were the most utilised. The majority of the studies mainly evaluated learning, with few studies evaluating changes in staff behaviour/practices and patients’ outcomes.

Conclusion: This review indicates that high quality studies are needed that especially evaluate staff behaviours and patient outcomes and their sustainability over time. It also highlights measures that could be used to develop and deliver training programmes in hospital settings.

Read the abstract here

Evaluation of ‘Dementia Friends’ programme for undergraduate nursing students: Innovative practice

Mitchell, G. & McCreevy, J. Dementia. Published online: March 14 2016

Image source: Number 10

The ‘dementia friends’ programme was launched by the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK two years ago with the purpose of educating members of the public about the things they can do which can enhance the lives of people living with dementia. The aim of this project was to deliver a two-hour ‘Dementia Friendly Community Workshop’ written by the Alzheimer’s Society, to an entire cohort of first-year undergraduate nursing students in one Higher Education Institutions in Northern Ireland.

Following delivery of the programme, students were asked to complete a short questionnaire on their knowledge and confidence in relation to dementia care before and after the Dementia Friendly Community programme. A total of 322 undergraduate first-year nursing students took part in the Dementia Friendly Community programme. Of these, 304 returned questionnaires; 31.25% of students stated their perceived improvement in dementia knowledge was ‘good’ while 49.01% stated their perceived improvement in dementia knowledge was ‘very good’ and 13.49% stated their perceived improvement in dementia knowledge was ‘excellent’. In relation to confidence in engaging with people with dementia, 31.91% stated ‘good’ improvement, 40.79% stated ‘very good’ improvement and 11.84% stated ‘excellent’ improvement.

The Dementia Friendly Community programme was positively reviewed by the undergraduate students as it enhanced knowledge and confidence in relation to care of someone living with dementia.

Read the full abstract here

Can higher educational attainment help lower dementia risk?

Posted by Raluca Lucacel for the Mental Elf


We do not know much about the direct causes of dementia, but the evidence for possible causal associations includes (Prince et al., World Alzheimer Report 2015):

  • Low education
  • Hypertension
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes

Knowing the risk factors and acting upon the modifiable ones can lower the incidence of the disease. Our level of education is one of the most accepted risk factors in epidemiological studies for dementia. This factor is a modifiable one, so knowing more about how it influences the disease and acting upon it can lead to lower incidence levels and improved quality of life.

An explorative meta-analysis was conducted in order to find out whether a dose-response relation exists between education and dementia risk (Xu et al, 2015).

This paper presents important modifiable factors for reducing the risk of dementia. Many people consider that everyone gets dementia if they live long enough, but this is not true. Dementia is not a normal part of the ageing process and the more we know about the risk factors of the disease, the more we can do to help prevent it from occurring. – See more at:

via Can higher educational attainment help lower dementia risk?.