Richard Arkless, MP for Dumfries and Galloway, showed his support for dementia research when he visited an exhibition in Westminster held by the UK’s leading dementia research charity, Alzheimer’s Research UK.

The exhibition was set up to help MPs learn more about the impact of dementia and the work of the charity, which funds world-leading research aimed at finding much needed treatments. The stand featured Alzheimer’s Research UK’s latest awareness raising video #sharetheorange, which MP’s shared on social media to highlight the statistic that a brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease weighs 140g less than a normal brain – about the weight of an orange.

Dementia affects 850,000 people in the UK and an estimated 1212 in Dumfries and Galloway. It is caused by diseases, most commonly Alzheimer’s, which stop the brain from functioning properly. Although early signs of dementia can include problems with memory and thinking, physical activities like walking or even swallowing can be affected as the disease progresses. Currently there are no treatments to stop or slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.

MPs who visited the stand were able to learn about efforts to develop new drugs and the work the charity is doing to ensure that future treatments get to patients as quickly as possible. The stand included the arcade game Amyloids – designed to help people understand the biology of Alzheimer’s – and an information touchscreen that allowed visitors to explore the different stages a drug must pass through to reach approval for public use.

Commenting Richard Arkless said:

“It is wonderful to see the progress that has been made in dementia research – I’m sure it won’t be long be for there are much better treatment options available for people who receive a dementia diagnosis. In the meantime, it is essential that patients suffering from dementia and diseases like Alzheimer’s receive care in a familiar setting and close to friends and relatives – talking with loved ones is an excellent way to help manage some of the symptoms of the disease.”

“Small community units such as Darataigh in Stranraer are invaluable in ensuing that people are cared for close to home. They also provide much needed respite care, allowing families who care for dementia sufferers essential help and support.”

Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We were delighted to see so many MPs from all political parties taking a greater interest in dementia research and raising public awareness of this condition.

“It has been 12 years since the last dementia treatment was licensed in the UK and since then there have been huge advances in medical research and in our understanding of diseases like Alzheimer’s. Now is a critical time – dementia research is making progress and we must be ready for any potential new treatments that may be coming through the pipeline. Our politicians can play a vital role in ensuring that dementia research has the backing it needs from government, and that new effective treatments reach the people who desperately need them.”

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