Clinic stays at cutting edge of dementia research


During Dementia Action Week, Cambridge University Hospitals takes a look at one of the oldest clinics in the country that treats memory and cognitive disorders – the Cambridge Memory Clinic – and at the changing shape of research into the disease.

The Cambridge Memory Clinic, based at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, offers a specialist service to patients of any age who have been referred by their GP or consultant with concerns about their memory or thinking.

A collaboration between Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Cambridge’s Departments of Clinical Neurosciences and Psychiatry, the memory clinics aim for early identification of memory problems and related disorders, a comprehensive assessment and accurate diagnosis, and active care.

It is also researching future dementia treatments with partners across the campus. The clinic team try to ensure that everyone is aware of research opportunities available to them if they wish. Many patients and families choose to take part, as equal partners in working towards better diagnosis and treatment.

Research on all major forms of dementia are being conducted through the University’s Biomedical Research Centre and Dementia Research Institute. The campus has unparalleled access to the latest technology to drive the research, which is aiming for prevention, not just treatment.

In particular, the research is aimed at detecting dementia earlier and finding drug combinations that slow down the disease. Powerful scanners are able to track subtle changes in the brain and sophisticated blood tests detect more information about progression.

To date, dementia has proved a difficult disease to crack. Alzheimer’s Disease has been ‘cured’ many times in the laboratory, but because of the complexities of the human brain, the drugs have not proved as successful in people, yet.

Professor James Rowe, a consultant neurologist at CUH and the Professor of Cognitive Neurology (pictured) said: “This is an exciting period for research into dementia and Cambridge is well placed at the forefront of it.

“We draw on the best of collaborative working on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and progress is now made possible by unparalleled access to the most sophisticated, most powerful brain scanners, virtual reality technology and extremely powerful genetics.

“It’s our job as researchers to make sure that trials are relevant to patients, and successful in improving people’s lives with dementia.”

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Cambridge University Hospitals is one of the largest and best known trusts in the country. As the local hospital for our community we deliver care through Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie hospitals.

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust