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Dementia is one of the greatest medical challenges we currently face in society. But research is improving our understanding of the diseases that cause it, working to deliver breakthroughs in how we diagnose and treat them. At this event, you'll hear from researchers studying sleep and navigation to try and unravel their links with dementia.
Spatial navigation in dementia - are we there yet?
Professor Michael Hornberger (Professor of Applied Dementia Research, University of East Anglia)
Feeling disoriented and getting lost can be one of the earliest signs of dementia, even before memory symptoms. However, these spatial navigation symptoms have not been studied much, nor are age-related changes in navigation well understood. To remedy this, Michael's team have conducted a citizen science project called Sea Hero Quest to collect large-scale spatial navigation data from healthy people of different ages. Combined with their studies of Sea Hero Quest in people with dementia, their findings will help pick up earlier signs and symptoms of dementia and improve dementia diagnosis.
Does slumber really matter? The role of sleep in dementia
Dr Alpar Lazar (Lecturer in Dementia & Complexity in Later Life, University of East Anglia)
Sleep is essential for human life and poor sleep can have negative effects on our health. Subtle sleep changes can happen in dementia, and may appear before other symptoms like memory problems emerge. Studies have suggested that sleep contributes to negative brain changes in dementia, due to its role in essential housekeeping processes in the brain. Less is known about what makes sleep disturbed early on in people at risk of developing dementia, and how sleep deficits could contribute to the very early symptoms. In his talk, Alpar will cover his ongoing work trying to answer these questions.