This was a very busy session as members were very keen to meet our speaker – Anne Mitchener a consultant Neurosurgeon at The London Clinic. Anne talked about the new drugs that were recently announced saying that the research is happening in Cambridge. This research will help people with Parkinsons, dementia and diabetes type 2.
Anne gave us a little about the history of Alzheimers as well. The first case that was presented with Alzheimer’s disease was in 1906 by Dr Alois Alzheimer. He describes this as a haunting case and a peculiar disease as he saw in an autopsy the dramatic shrinkage and abnormal deposits in and around the nerve cells. In 1984 researchers identified the amyloid protein known as beta amyloid which is the main component of Alzheimer’s brain plaques and triggering nerve cell damage.
In 1986 the Tau protein was identified which is a key component of tangles which is another triggering agent in nerve cell degeneration. Anne described how proteins form and fold and become a problem. Former US President Ronald Reagan announced in 1994 that he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Anne then talked about the recent drugs which have been announced- Trazodone hydrochloride (used to treat depression and anxiety) and Dibenzoylmethane (a drug that could be used for prostrate and bowel cancer). This research is conducted in Cambridge
She then talked about Statins and how they are currently used to control cholesterol and prevent strokes. Cambridge researchers are now trying to make Neuro Statins that could be taken for dementia sufferers to prevent the disease progressing. There are 36 million people worldwide who have been diagnosed with dementia but this is massively underestimated as there are many more people who live in the Third world who have not been diagnosed. The figure is expected to triple by 2050.
The Government has recognised that Dementia is a huge problem, more than cancer and has put more funding into Dementia. Members then had the opportunity to ask Anne some questions. One of the questions was whether dementia was hereditary. Anne informed members that it is genetic - it's in our DNA and if for example we know that dementia is in the family then the best way is to be checked and if diagnosed to go on the trials.
I informed Anne that I had details of how members could apply to go on the trials and she said that would be the best way. We all thanked Anne for her very informative speech and I also gave her a tour of the Town Hall which she enjoyed.
The session then continued as normal with exercise and other activities. We had 3 volunteers from Chelsea Square estate agency. Many thanks to Davian Hunte, Rashaye (Shaye) Williams & Georgia Charilaou. I was very grateful for their help and would also like to thank Ruth Schwalb marketing assistant at Chelsea Square for sending their employees.
I also had 3 visitors again from the Rotary Club of Elstree and Borehamwood; Ann Goddard, Pat Strack and Sasha Capocci – who also visited the day before at the Finchley Memorial Hospital.
Volunteer Darica (medical student) attended as last month and was a great help. Our Dementia Club UK volunteers Theresa and Dr Angela also attended. I also had another visitor Eleanor Fretten. She would like to become a volunteer to help initially run the activities part of the session and then would like to hopefully learn to run the whole session.