Why is this research important?
Mental and cognitive health disorders can be seriously distressing and debilitating problems for patients and those who love and care for them. If we consider dementia alone, there are 850,000 diagnoses in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025 and 2 million by 2051. Ours is an ageing population, so those numbers will only keep growing.
Dementia is one of the main causes of disability later in life. In this respect, it is ahead of cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke, and yet we spend far less on dementia than these other conditions. We regularly integrate research and clinical practice when assessing and treating patients with physical conditions. But we’ve fallen a long way short of achieving this integration with mental and cognitive disorders – and that represents a significant inequality in the availability of high-quality assessment and care.
The Brain Health Centre has been created to help redress this imbalance and ensure that patients with mental and cognitive conditions receive the same quality of assessment, diagnosis, treatment and care as their counterparts with physical conditions.
What are we doing?
By integrating research into clinical service, the Brain Health Centre draws upon world-class multi-disciplinary expertise and combines cognitive assessments with the latest MRI and other techniques to offer patients access to better quality diagnosis and treatment.
This, in turn, is enabling the development of ever-better diagnostic tools and treatments that can be swiftly and effectively deployed to provide better, more accurately targeted care for patients.
The centre provides a link between leading University research into diagnosis and treatment of mental and cognitive problems, and the introduction of this research within a clinical NHS environment. Patients will also be given improved opportunities to take part in research and trials.
“[This] is a pioneering effort to link research and diagnostic practice to dramatically improve outcomes and, as importantly, the patient experience of diagnosis.”Larry Gardiner, public contributor & member of Three Nations Dementia Working Group
What do we hope to achieve?
Faster and more accurate diagnoses mean that patients and their carers can be supported with individual care packages tailored to their needs.
This progress has been made possible because the BHC is an environment that creates opportunities for the cross-pollination of ideas and techniques; brings cutting-edge research and clinical care together; and allows promising methods and treatments to be tested and fast-tracked into clinical service.
As the work of the BHC develops and expands beyond dementia and memory conditions, so our pool of volunteer patients will grow and diversify. Their first-hand insights, and those of their carers, will help determine the nature and scope of the Centre’s work, and sharpen our focus and resources on the areas of combined research and clinical service that promise to deliver the best patient outcomes.