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Institute for Life Sciences

New interdisciplinary Centre tackles the rising challenges of dementia and brain ageing

Published: 19 December 2019
Interdisciplinary Dementia and Ageing Centre

A new interdisciplinary research centre in the South will address the rising national challenges of dementia and brain ageing.

The University of Southampton’s Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS) and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust have launched the new Interdisciplinary Dementia and Ageing Centre (IDeAC) that will bring together local expertise to explore solutions to the problems in these complex fields. 

There is currently a pressing need in the UK to understand dementia and neurodegenerative disease, together with improved therapies and delivery of care for people with these conditions, and the South Coast region is recognised as an area where these problems are particularly acute. 

IDeAC will be led by Professor Roxana Carare, a Professor of Clinical Neuroanatomy at the University of Southampton, and Dr Christopher Kipps, a Consultant Neurologist at Southampton University Hospital MHS Foundation Trust, and will bring together scientists, clinicians, health and social care delivery researchers, epidemiologists, imagers, mathematicians, and computing and data scientists. It will aim to offer interdisciplinary solutions in brain ageing and dementia and establish a reputation for IDeAC research excellence and delivery at local, national and international level. 

IfLS member Roxana is internationally renowned for her research into the causes of dementia and finding new therapeutic targets to help the many people affected by the disease. She said: “The South Coast has an ageing population and the demographic pressures will increase demand on clinical services over the next 20 years. Research into these areas is crucial and new insights will come from the interface between disciplines thinking differently about dementia and brain ageing. 

“There is considerable local expertise in the region and IDeAC will bring together all the elements that are already in place in Southampton, to energise and coordinate their efforts into making this interdisciplinary collaboration easy, capable and effective. It will connect people across boundaries to pursue research that challenges accepted thinking and focuses on the problems of brain ageing and dementia across the health and social care continuum. 

“There is enormous growth in funding for these research areas and, by creating this new Centre, we aim to ensure that we are in a strong position to attract funding to Southampton.”

 Chris is a behavioural neurologist with expertise in dementia diagnosis, clinical trials and dementia service delivery. He said: “One third of us will be directly affected by dementia at some point in our lives. We need to advance our knowledge at every point along the dementia pathway from basic science to the organisation of clinical services to support patients and their carers. IDeAC is an excellent opportunity to make this happen in Southampton.” 

The first major event for the Centre is a conference – The Wessex Brain Ageing and Dementia Research Meeting – early next year to celebrate the launch of IDeAC, showcase research in these areas, and create networking opportunities for researchers across the region.

The event takes place on 4 February, 2020, at St Mary’s Stadium, in Southampton. To register for the event click here.

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