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Hundreds of volunteers to help spot early Alzheimer's

British researchers are hoping to shed new light on the very early stages of Alzheimer's disease, with the help of hundreds of volunteers. Nearly 47 million people worldwide were estimated to be living with dementia in 2015.

Using techniques including wearable technology, they are looking for what are known as biomarkers - the very early physical signs of the disease. These can be spotted long before more obvious symptoms emerge. They hope it will open up new avenues for tackling Alzheimer's before the brain suffers serious damage.

The research, funded by the National Institute for Health Research and the Medical Research Council, is being aided by around 250 volunteers, including former university academic Peter Lindon.

He has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and hopes his involvement in this latest research project may answer some troubling questions. "The importance is hard to overestimate because the question of one's short-term memory deteriorating has many consequences," he says.

"The major concern one is principally bothered about is how much time you've got when you're likely to be competent, until the time that you are no longer competent."

Peter has undergone a whole range of tests, mental and physical, to help researchers identify the biomarkers for Alzheimer's with early diagnosis possibly the best hope of finding an effective treatment.

Researcher Jennifer Lawson, from Oxford University, says: "Over the last decade or more, 99% of clinical trials into treatments for Alzheimer's disease have failed. We think the reason for that is we are simply trying these in people far too late. By the time someone comes to their GP and they think they might have some memory problems and they get a diagnosis of Alzheimer's, it's likely the brain has been under attack from this illness for 10 or even 20 years before."

Posted by: Sharon Tither on August 24th, 2016 @ 11:25 AM
Tagged with: Alzheimers, Clinical Research, clinical trials, dementia, health

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New Uniforms now available

In order to bring in standardisation across all of our branches and to ensure everyone wears the same uniform we are launching a new Routes Healthcare uniform for all of our Field Workers.

This new uniform is a bottle green tunic for both men and woman and will include the Routes Healthcare logo. We have chosen green as it is our main brand colour, it is also a different colour to many of competitors – this will help people recognise the Routes Healthcare Field Workers.   

The new uniform is hard-wearing and comfortable. The female tunic has a zip fastening and includes hip and chest pockets. The male version has a press stud fastening to the right hand side neck and shoulder. Both items are to be worn with black trousers and black shoes. A new uniform policy has also been implemented to coincide with this new uniform, please ask your local branch to supply you with a copy of this Alternatively, please ask a member of your local branch who will be happy to run through this with you.

The uniforms are now available to purchase from your local branch for £17.50, we understand you may have only recently purchased a new uniform so all staff will be given until 1st January 2017 to purchase and start wearing this new uniform. New staff will be given the new uniform.

We will also be offering a bottle green polo shirt that you can wear during the summer months, again this will be available from your local branch for £12.50.

If you do have any questions, please contact your local branch. 

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Organ transplants: Hundreds helped by former cancer patients

Hundreds of people in the UK have received an organ transplant from someone with a history of cancer, despite many believing you cannot donate if you have had the disease.

A total of 272 organ donors across the UK in the past five years had a history of cancer, according to data obtained by the Press Association. Their donations resulted in 675 people receiving a transplant. Eye donation is one key area where such donors have been able to help.

The figures from NHS Blood and Transplant also showed that 1,033 people who had suffered from some types of cancer went on to donate their eyes - but not other organs.

Officials say there is a "common misconception" that people cannot be organ donors if they have had cancer, but there are some circumstances where it is possible.

The Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs has said the "risks of cancer transmission must be balanced against the risks of dying without transplantation. Organs from deceased donors with some cancers may be safely used for transplantation." The risk of donor-transmitted cancer in the UK is currently assessed as 0.06%.

Minimise the risks

Prof John Forsythe, associate medical director for organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said people should not let a health condition or previous illness stop them from registering as a donor.

"We are very keen that everyone, regardless of their health status, registers a decision to donate and tells their family they want to donate. We work hard to minimise the risks to recipients by carefully evaluating all potential organ and tissue donors."

Posted by: Sharon Tither on August 15th, 2016 @ 4:34 PM
Tagged with: , cancer, donate, organ donor

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Drug 'may slow' Alzheimer's brain death

A drug appears to slow the brain's death and preserve mental function in patients with Alzheimer's disease, a study shows.

Developing such a treatment is one of the biggest challenges in medicine. But serious scientific questions remain as the drug - LMTX - inexplicably works only in patients not taking other dementia pills.

The data on 891 patients was presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Toronto. Overall, the trial - which treated patients for 15 months - was a flop, as there appeared to be no benefit to taking LMTX.

However, an analysis on just the 15% of the patients who had not already been taking drugs to help manage their symptoms showed a benefit. In this tiny subset of patients, tests showed thinking power was maintained and MRI scans found the death of brain cells was reduced.

Dr Serge Gauthier, the director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Unit at McGill University in Canada, said: "It is both encouraging to see improvements of this magnitude in the standard cognitive and functional tests and reassuring to see the supporting brain scan evidence of a slowing in disease progression.

"In a field that has been plagued by consistent failures of novel drug candidates in late-stage clinical trials and where there has been no practical therapeutic advance for over a decade, I am excited."

Even the company that manufactures LMTX, TauRX, cannot explain why it might work only in patients not taking other dementia drugs.

Dr David Reynolds, the chief scientific officer at the Alzheimer's Research UK charity, told the BBC News website: "It does worry me as a scientist why it doesn't work with other therapies."

Possible explanations include:

  • the drugs interfere with each other
  • there is something different about the patients not on other medication
  • the small size of the sub-group in the trial means the results may have been fluked

Dr Reynolds added: "The data suggests it is slowing down the disease, but the important caveat is these small numbers.

"It is encouraging, but we need more data and will have to run a study with it as just a monotherapy [on its own]. It will still be years from reaching patients even assuming it works."

Posted by: Sharon Tither on August 8th, 2016 @ 11:52 AM
Tagged with: Alzheimers, dementia, drug, health, Health and Social Care, healthcare, trials

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Meet the team – Jade Warden, Team Leader

Hello, my name is Jade Warden. I am a Routes Healthcare team leader within the home care team at Bradford.

My favourite part of this role is the job satisfaction I feel, knowing that what seems to be the smallest task to me, such as conversion or encouragement, can make such a big difference to the person I am supporting and also how this can have such a positive impact on their day.

In my spare time I enjoy socialising with my friends and family. I also take part in Zumba and spinning classes throughout the week.

If you are interested in becoming part of our home care teams, please contact your local branch.

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