You see a flicker of recognition in your mum. Then you think you might be mistaken.
She looks nervous as you try to greet her. You wonder if she sees you as a complete stranger.
You reluctantly back away a bit, chatting with the latest news.
You don't know if your mum recognises you. At all.
You're not going to give up visiting – you know from her nurses that just because she can’t always respond, that doesn’t mean she’s not there.
You trust that more will be done to ease the lives of families like your own in future. And you hold on to that chance that progress will be made in time to help your mum.
Help us do more for dementia patients
Many people think that Alzheimer’s is just an inevitable part of old age – but it isn’t. It’s one of many neurodegenerative disorders, and one day we think they’ll be treatable, like many other life-threatening diseases.
We’re investigating the role of trace metals like iron in the brain to see how they can help us better understand, diagnose, and thereby treat dementia early on. Even though we’re a small team, our research is internationally renowned and we’re making a difference.
Last year £10,000 in donations helped us to hire Dr James Everett, a talented postdoctoral researcher. James’s research demonstrated how iron chemistry in the brain is disrupted by a hallmark process in Alzheimer’s disease. This gives us better information about what can be detected in brain scans to enable earlier diagnosis, and clearer ideas about how future treatment could protect against damage associated with the process.
James’ work has helped us to win a major project grant from the EPSRC, and time at international research facilities such as the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley, USA, and the Diamond Light Source, UK, to continue our work.
These are all significant steps forward, and it was donations which helped make these advances possible. Thank you to everyone who donates. We look forward to proving your faith in us worthwhile.
Dr Joanna Collingwood, School of Engineering