Revolutionising drug management for patients with dementia and Parkinson’s

The Prime Minister has set up a ‘Dementia Challenge’ to transform dementia care, support and research by 2020. Drug trials at Newcastle University have risen to this challenge with dramatic improvements in the quality of life of millions of dementia patients.

dementia treatment

Research at Newcastle led to the application of cholinesterase inhibitors (CHEIs), originally licensed for use in Alzheimer’s disease, to treat two other types of dementia – dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson’s disease.

This has revolutionised treatment for these patients, allowing the disabling symptoms of these diseases to be managed for the first time. Researchers found that CHEIs significantly reduce psychiatric symptoms and improve cognition, without substantial risk of side effects.

Where previously there had been no effective treatments, CHEIs are now recommended in national and international guidelines as a treatment for the cognitive and psychiatric symptoms associated with both DLB and Parkinson’s disease.

Policy areas

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Reducing blood transfusions to lower patient risk, reduce costs and save lives

More than half a million people in the UK receive a blood transfusion each year and demand is increasing. Our ageing population, and a stringent donor selection process, mean the supply of blood is limited. 40% fewer new donors came forward last year compared with a decade ago. Recognising these challenges, researchers at the University of Edinburgh have shown the benefits of reducing the use of blood transfusions in intensive care and surgery.

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