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Science
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Tuesday 21:00-21:30
Repeat Wednesday 16:30
Dr Mark Porter gives listeners the low-down on what the medical profession does and doesn't know. Each week an expert in the studio tackles a particular topic and there are reports from around the UK on the health of the nation - and the NHS.
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LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 9 October 
PRESENTER
DR MARK PORTER
Dr Mark Porter
PROGRAMME DETAILS
Tuesday 9 October 2007
Alzheimer's

Full programme transcript >>

Alzheimer's

We all worry about the prospect of failing health as we age, but dementia – or “losing your marbles” - holds a particular dread.

This disabling, distressing, progressive and incurable condition is extremely common.

There are currently 700,000 people with dementia in the UK – most of whom have Alzheimer’s disease, named after the German neurologist who described the characteristic brain changes a hundred years ago.

Dr Mark Porter’s guest today is Dr Roy Jones – Director of the Research Institute for the Care of the Elderly in Bath – and he will be explaining how Alzheimer’s Disease is diagnosed and what treatment options are available.

Carers

It’s not just the person with Alzheimer’s whose life is disrupted by the illness. The disease has a profound effect on those around the patient, particularly their partner or spouse who is likely to end up being their carer.

Most people with dementia are cared for at home. However, others live in care homes. Case Notes compares these options and how families make those decisions.

NHS Treatment for Alzheimer’s

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence – NICE – has approved three drugs. A group of drugs called anticholinesterases can be prescribed under the names of Aricept, Exelon and Reminyl.

Professor Clive Ballard is Director of Research at the Alzheimer’s Society and he explains how they work and other older drugs which may be helpful in alleviating symptoms.

Alzheimer’s and the Eyes

Alzheimer’s has been in the headlines recently following research suggesting that the underlying degenerative process in the brain may be similar to that seen in the nerves at the back of the eye in glaucoma.

Glaucoma is common eye condition, thought to affect at least a million people across the UK – most of whom are middle aged or elderly.

Dr Francesca Cordero is a consultant at the Western Eye Hospital, and one of the team from University College London who discovered the link. She explains the possible implications for people with both Alzheimer’s and glaucoma.

Next week: Statins
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