State-of-the-art dementia diagnosis paving the way for prevention

Oxfordshire-based trial set to expand to more people in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire: Dementia Awareness Week May 16 - 22 2022

State-of-the-art dementia diagnosis paving the way for prevention

About 150 people in the county have taken part in the pilot at the Brain Health Centre – a ground-breaking collaboration between physical and mental health practice and research to examine a person’s symptoms, lifestyle and genetics to best understand the causes of dementia – and how to prevent it.

The Brain Health Centre, also known as the Brain Health Clinic, is a collaboration between Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Oxford.

It opened in 2020, overcoming challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak and the vulnerability of the patient group. The hope is that it will now be expanded to support more people in Oxfordshire as well as Buckinghamshire who currently undergo standard dementia assessment and diagnosis and in the future be able to offer same-day diagnosis to patients.

Consultant old age psychiatrist at Oxford Health, Lola Martos said: “The Brain Health Centre brings together NHS clinical care and academic research for patients and provides a prompt and accurate diagnosis for dementia. Patients are invited to participate in research and undertake a more thorough two-and-a-half-hour assessment than typically required for dementia diagnosis. They are also invited to have a longer and more detailed MRI scan, complete a cognitive test and a wellbeing assessment, provide a lifestyle history and a saliva sample for genetic testing to enable us to determine if there are any genetic risks for the condition. We are offering patients the best we can in terms of assessment and an accurate and prompt diagnosis.”

Claire MacKay, Professor of Imaging Neuroscience at the University of Oxford, said: “We set up the Brain Health Clinic to try to improve access to high quality assessments for patients at the same time as improving opportunities for research. Our pilot project has shown that we can deliver both and our next challenge is to scale this out to other services to benefit as many patients as possible.”

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Published: 20 May 2022