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Harrogate hosts global experts at leading dementia conference

Sara Imarisio

Nearly 500 scientists are arriving in Harrogate this week to share their latest research findings at the UK’s largest annual gathering of dementia researchers.

The Alzheimer’s Research UK Conference 2019 is being held at the Harrogate Convention Centre on 19-20 March, with a jam-packed programme of talks and presentations over two days.

Ahead of the conference, Yorkshire-based researchers shared their work with the public at a free afternoon event on Saturday 16 March. And on Monday 18 March, over 150 early career scientists gathered for a career development event, with talks and sessions covering the variety of skills needed for a career path in dementia research.

Celebrity supporter, Stephen Fry will give a video message to welcome scientists on Day one of the UK’s largest dementia conference, which will showcase speakers from across the world.

Prof Albert Hofman, is flying in from Harvard University to present findings about changing rates of dementia over the last three decades and what this tells us about potential ways to prevent the condition.

Closer to home, Dr Jason Berwick from University of Sheffield is speaking about his work on the role the brain’s blood vessels plays in dementia. His insights from studying the brain cells surrounding these blood vessels are key to understanding what’s driving the condition.

Dr Jason Berwick said: “An emerging idea in dementia is that brain blood flow could play an important part of the condition. My research focusses on the idea that changes in the brain’s blood supply in dementia means cells don’t receive enough oxygen and nutrients, causing damage. To understand the processes involved, we need to have the tools and techniques that allow us to recreate and model the human brain in the lab.

“Our work here in the region is rising to this challenge. We have devised sophisticated experiments that allow us to measure changes in the function of cells around blood vessels in the brain. It’s fantastic to share my work at such a major conference taking place here in Yorkshire and have the opportunity to discuss my research with world-leaders.”

Alzheimer’s Research UK has funded over £4 million of research in Yorkshire including pioneering projects at the Universities of York, Sheffield and Leeds.

Dr Sara Imarisio, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “There are 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia, with 10,000 in North Yorkshire alone. With this number set to rise over the coming years with an ageing population, we need to see even greater investment in research.

“Dementia researchers in the UK punch above their weight, with scientists here making more findings and publishing more papers than researchers elsewhere in Europe.

“The Alzheimer’s Research UK Conference 2019 is a fantastic opportunity for dementia scientists to share their findings, make new links and forge collaborations to increase the pace of research. It is events like this conference that will accelerate real breakthroughs that will help in our mission to bring the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia to an end.”

 

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