Rob Wilson, MP for Reading East, discovered how a partnership between Alzheimer’s Research UK and the University of Reading is leading the fight against dementia when he visited the Whiteknights Campus today. During the visit, organised by Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, the MP witnessed the breadth of Reading’s work in tackling the devastating condition and learned how a £100,000 funding boost from the charity is helping foster its research efforts.
Mr Wilson, a University of Reading graduate, toured the University’s cutting-edge laboratories and clinical research facilities. He spoke to scientists from Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Research Network who are working to understand the causes of diseases like Alzheimer’s – the most common form of dementia – and find innovative treatments.
In addition Mr Wilson visited the University’s Berkshire Memory & Cognition Research Centre (BMCRC), which aims to improve the detection and prevention of dementia, as well as support those affected by the condition. He also heard from researchers who are studying how nutrition affects thinking and memory, and saw some of the University’s sophisticated brain scanning equipment at work.
Mr Wilson said:
“It was fantastic to see the innovative research taking place at the University of Reading. It is a source of immense pride, both as the local MP and as an alumni of the university, that Reading is at the forefront of this fight. Dementia affects many thousands of people across the country and the inspirational work that is taking place to combat the disease is vital and could provide comfort to many families in future. I thank all of the research team for their hard work.”
Dementia researchers at the University are also linked with academics at the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University through Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Oxford Research Network Centre, which has recently been given a two-year funding boost of £100,000. As one of 15 national hubs for the charity’s Research Network, this centre of excellence brings together scientists from a variety of disciplines, allowing them to pool their expertise and share ideas and resources.
Dr Mark Dallas, Lecturer in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience at the University of Reading’s School of Pharmacy, guided Mr Wilson on his tour. Dr Dallas recently published findings suggesting a possible protective role for carbon monoxide in Alzheimer’s, and is currently working to better understand the role of this normally toxic gas in the disease.
“We were delighted to welcome Mr Wilson to the University. Reading is undertaking cutting-edge research to combat the diseases that cause dementia. However diseases like Alzheimer’s are multi-faceted and to fight them effectively, we need to tackle the challenge from many different angles.
“Collaboration is key and at Reading we have built links between a range of disciplines, from scientists working in the lab to clinical researchers who work with patients. The Alzheimer’s Research UK network plays an important role in helping to foster this collaborative spirit.”
Matthew Norton, Head of Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“Currently 830,000 people are living with dementia in the UK, including over 2,000 across Reading East and Reading West, and we urgently need better ways to treat and prevent the diseases that cause it. Members of our Research Network in Reading have shown a real commitment to this challenge, and we’re delighted to help shine the spotlight on the vital work they are doing. Investment in research is crucial if we are to deliver effective new treatments to the people who need them, and it’s important that this work is given full backing from all of us – charities, government and the public.”