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#TalkDementia – Catch up on our Twitter chat for World Alzheimer’s Day

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World Alzheimer’s Day (21 September) is an annual event aiming to honor those affected by dementia, as well as celebrate the scientists, clinicians, charities and fundraisers working to beat this disease.

In line with this, we hosted a Twitter chat (#TalkDementia) on 21 September, where we questioned Tara Spires-Jones (University of Edinburgh, UK), Adam Smith (University College London, UK), Hannah Churchill (Alzheimer’s Society, London, UK), George Rook (3 Nations Dementia Working Group, UK) and Julie Hayden (3 Nations Dementia Working Group) about all things dementia – from research to social stigma. You can find out more about our panelists here.

The experts dedicated an hour of their time to answering questions, and the impressive number of tweets and engagements certainly made the notifications hard to keep up with! We have a look at some of the highlights below:

Public perception

In our first highlight, we set the focus on the public perception of dementia. According to statistics from Alzheimer’s Research UK (London, UK), 23% of people identify dementia as caused by brain disease or degeneration, and 46% identified it as loss of memory [1]. We wanted to find out what improvements there have been in the public perception of dementia and what more could be done about this.

Digital technology

Technology holds great potential to help those affected by dementia to live well. However, as dementia progresses, it may be difficult for those affected to use various technological platforms. In this instance, what alternatives could be put in place for this? We put this two-part question out to our panelists and received some very insightful responses:

Clinical improvements

A very big topic of discussion within the community includes the clinical aspect of dementia. From listening and reading to stories on Dementia Diaries, a UK-wide project that brings together people’s diverse experiences of living with dementia, we were interested in finding out what more people were hoping to see being done for those affected by dementia.

Collaboration and research

A big question in the dementia research field at the moment is, “How can researchers work with people affected by dementia?” This is a fantastic question and we heard from all of our panelists on how to bridge the gap between those affected and those researching the disease.

Hot topics

One of our most engaged questions included hot topics in dementia research and what everyone was looking forward to most in this area. It was really great to see everyone getting involved in this question, particularly because it reflected that there is a lot of hope in the dementia research field. From immune cells to gender and dementia, we heard a wide array of responses on why we should be excited about where the field is heading.

Thank you again to all of our panelists for giving up their time to advocate for dementia – we had some fantastic, varied perspectives highlighting some of the challenges facing the dementia field and how we can all play a part in making a breakthrough possible. To view the full discussion, follow the #TalkDementia hashtag on Twitter.

  • Q1 – Could you introduce yourself?
  • Q2 – What motivates you to keep going with dementia research?
  • Q3 – What improvements have there been in the public perception of dementia? What more could be done?
  • Q4 – Why is it taking so long to develop effective treatments for dementia?
  • Q5 – How much has dementia policy changed in recent years? What more could be done?
  • Q6 – How can the use of digital technology be used to improve the lives of people affected by dementia?
  • Q7 – As dementia progresses, it may be difficult for those affected to use various technological platforms. What alternatives could be put in place for this?
  • Q8 – On a clinical perspective, what more do you hope to see being done for those affected by dementia?
  • Q9 – How can researchers work with people affected by dementia?
  • Q10 – What ‘hot topic’ in dementia research are you looking forward to most?
  • Q11 – What are the psycho-social effects of dementia and what do people living with dementia need or want to help them cope with these?
  • Q12 – What would you say is the biggest challenge currently hindering the field of dementia?
  • Q13 – Finally, what area of development are you looking forward to most in the next 5–10 years?

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Sources:
[1] Alzheimer’s Research UK. Public perception.
https://www.dementiastatistics.org/statistics-about-dementia/public-perception/
[Accessed 24 September 2018]

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