Students, researchers and staff from the University of Bath have come together, with representatives from Alzheimer’s Society, to celebrate the work the university is doing to unite against dementia.
The group gathered at the university’s Students’ Union, at Claverton Down, where they enjoyed a specially made cake, by cake artist Zoe Burmester.
The research-themed cake, which featured an edible magnifying glass, research books and vintage phrenology images, was donated to Alzheimer’s Society by Oak Furniture Land after the opening of its new store in Bath.
Alzheimer’s Society currently funds two research projects at the university. Both look to investigate a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, which are toxic clumps of the protein beta-amyloid that accumulate close to brain cells. This contributes towards brain cell death, leading to symptoms such as memory loss.
Biochemists Dr Jody Mason and Dr Robert Williams have recently been awarded funding from Alzheimer’s Society to investigate whether the toxic build-up of amyloid that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented.
Meanwhile another PhD project, led by Professor K. Ravi Acharya, aims to understand more about how brain cells interact with amyloid clumps.
In addition to the research taking place at the university, students are actively supporting the charity’s Side by Side service by volunteering to support people living with dementia in a bid to reduce loneliness and isolation.
Chris Atkinson, Operations Manager for Alzheimer’s Society in Bath said: “Today was a lovely opportunity to come together with people from across the university to celebrate the steps they are all taking to improve the lives of people living with dementia.
“There are estimated to be more than 2,600 people living with dementia in Bath and North East Somerset and too many face the condition alone without adequate support.
“That’s why it’s so fantastic to see students from the university giving up their time to volunteer with us.
“It goes to show that whoever you are, and whatever you do, there is always an opportunity to unite and plan actions, big or small, to make a huge difference to people affected by dementia.”
In the UK, one person develops dementia every three minutes and almost everyone knows someone whose life has been affected. There hasn’t been a new drug for dementia in 15 years.
But since 2013, the number of clinical trials for Alzheimer’s drugs has doubled. Alzheimer’s Society will continue to drive forward research for effective treatments for dementia and, ultimately, a cure.
The University of Bath’s Dr Mason said: “We’re incredibly grateful for the grant from Alzheimer’s Society, it’s allowing us to continue our efforts to discover and further refine molecules that can target and detoxify this key protein implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.
“It was great to enjoy cake at the university’s Students’ Union and to meet some of the Alzheimer’s Society team.”
During Dementia Action Week (21st-27th May), Alzheimer’s Society is encouraging people in Bath to unite against dementia and sign up to take part in research, find out more about volunteering, or even donate, by visiting alzheimers.org.uk/DAW.