Sussex volunteers needed to help dementia studies

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Volunteers across Sussex are being sought to help with dementia studies.

More than 2,500 people from Sussex, Kent and Surrey have already volunteered to help improve the lives of people with dementia and their families.

However, during Dementia Action Week (until Sunday May 27), researchers in the South-East are asking more people in the region to consider volunteering for dementia studies.

Many studies into the devastating condition are underway across Sussex, Kent and Surrey, but efforts can be hindered if researchers cannot find people willing to take part.

In February 2015, a new national service called Join Dementia Research launched to help members of the public with and without dementia register their interest in participating in research.

Join Dementia Research is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care and delivered by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) in partnership with Alzheimer’s Research UK, Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer Scotland.

The online and telephone service is the first of its kind in the UK and aims to provide an opportunity for those with dementia and their friends and family to get involved in pioneering research, as well as streamlining the recruitment process for researchers.

By signing up, volunteers agree to be contacted to take part in new studies getting underway in their area, from which point they can decide if they wish to take part.

It is possible to register on behalf of someone who may not be able to register themselves, acting as a representative. This allows people to sign up those who may need assistance using the system or may have dementia themselves and benefit from a helping hand.

There are many research studies looking for volunteers through Join Dementia Research, including several studies running in the Kent, Surrey and Sussex area.

Dr Naji Tabet, NIHR Clinical Research Network Kent, Surrey and Sussex Dementia Specialty Lead says: “I recognise that the only way to advance the treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is through the laborious work of clinical trials and through the kind volunteering of patients to take part in such trials. Research studies give hope to patients and carers by giving them opportunities to help themselves and help future patients, although we need to encourage more patients with dementia to sign-up. The more we can spread the word about Join Dementia Research the more everyone, researchers and people with dementia will be able to benefit.”

Dr Ramin Nilforooshan is a Consultant Psychiatrist for Older Adults and the Associate Medical Director for Research and Development for Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and a Dementia Lead for NIHR Clinical Research Network Kent, Surrey and Sussex Dementia Specialty Lead.

Dr Nilforooshan says: “Every patient should be given the right to participate in research if they would like a new treatment. I look forward in 10 years-time, when I can see the new advances in dementia care which are in place due to results we are hoping to have from current trials.”

People with and without dementia can sign up online at Join Dementia Research or contact one of the charity helplines: Alzheimer’s Research UK (0300 111 5 111) or Alzheimer’s Society (0300 222 1122).