How BRACE is making a difference
Here at BRACE we believe we are making a significant contribution to the global fight against dementia. We achieve this by funding world-class research into all aspects of dementia related diseases. It is important to fund research if we are to make a breakthrough with this disease. Current estimates state that there are four cancer researchers for every one dementia researcher and that cancer research gets 13 times as much funding as dementia research.
"The global ratio of publications on neurodegenerative disorders, versus cancer, is an astonishing 1:12"
2018 World Alzheimer's Report
This shows the gulf in funding for dementia research compared to other diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Due to this, many fundamental markers of the disease are yet to be reached. Firstly, there is not currently an early-diagnostic test for the disease widely available. This means it is very hard to diagnose the disease (while the patient is still alive) and it is estimated that 3 out of every 4 people may be living with dementia despite not receiving a diagnosis.
"75% of dementia sufferers may be living with the disease undiagnosed"
2011 World Alzheimer’s Report
The second important milestone of the fight against dementia concerns a lack of knowledge. The specific cellular mechanism responsible for the build up of proteins that are indicative of dementia-related diseases is not known. It is well known in the field of dementia which proteins are typically present in the brain tissue of those suffering with the disease (tau, beta-amyloid). What is not known is what goes wrong in the body that leads to the build up of these proteins to toxic amounts.
The final milestone in dementia research is probably the most important one. Despite an estimated 850,000 dementia sufferers currently in the UK, there is still no definitive treatment which is able to reverse the effects of this terrible disease. All current drugs and treatments only control the symptoms of dementia. At the time of writing there is no treatment which has been found to cure the underlying cause of the disease. But there is hope...
BRACE was founded in 1987 and funded its first PhD student in 1992. Since then it has awarded over £10 million of grants towards dementia research in the South West of the UK. The research funded by BRACE has led to many promising developments in the three core areas of dementia research:
- Providing the means by which medical science comes to understand what causes dementia in its various forms.
- Achieving earlier diagnosis of dementia, thereby giving new treatments and knowledge of prevention more time to make a difference.
- Finding new and more powerful treatments, and ultimately a cure.
Without charities like BRACE the amount of funding for dementia research will only get smaller and the hopes of finding a cure will diminish. we can continue to fund world leading research into dementia research – Together We Will Beat Dementia.
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