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Flower show donation boosts mental health trust's dementia research
22/05/2018

Research into dementia was given a boost when Aylsham and District Flower Club presented a generous cheque for £1,250 to Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).

The club raised the money at the Aylsham Show from their floral display tent and chose NSFT because club members know people with dementia and had heard about the good work the Trust does in researching the condition.

The money was presented to the Trust’s Research and Development Team, which is looking into ways to make best use of the donation for the benefit of people with dementia now and in the future.

Club chairman Heather Monks said: “We choose a different charity or good cause every year and raise money from public donations in collecting pots, selling off the floral arrangements and the show committee also give extra money.

“We know people with dementia and so members decided the money raised at last year’s show should go to researching the condition, and the Trust was recommended.”

Claire Rischmiller, Senior Research Nurse, Research and Development, said: “NSFT currently develops and delivers research for people with dementia and memory problems, and we are so grateful to Aylsham and District Flower Club for this generous donation.

“It is a great contribution towards our research into this condition and will assist us in finding the best treatments for people with dementia. Our Trust is also very involved in valuable research into the mental health conditions we treat and in developing even better treatments, from cognitive therapies to medicines.”

NSFT has delivered and continues to deliver many dementia studies: interventional studies, including commercial and non-commercial drug trials, or observational (interview and questionnaire based). 

Many of the Trust’s studies are ongoing and in 2017 the NSFT research participation survey found that 96% of respondents said that they would recommend taking part in research. 

Juni West (pictured), Research Development Lead, Older People’s Services, said: “NSFT is currently working with partner universities to develop new studies into dementia care and treatment that have local and national impact. One project is designed to help us understand what research questions need answering. We’re running a research priority setting project that asks staff, service users and their family carers what they think are important research questions. Work is ongoing to narrow this down to the Top 10 questions.”

NSFT, which works with the UEA and other universities across the UK, can have new studies to offer at any time and is currently recruiting to the following studies:

• The Study of Mirtazapine or Carbamazepine for Agitation in Dementia: HTA- SYMBAD. This drug trial is suitable for people with Alzheimer’s disease or a mixed Alzheimer’s/vascular dementia who are experiencing agitation which may need treating with medication. Professor Chris Fox, Principal Investigator for SYMBAD in Norwich, said: "We need to better understand medication for people with dementia with distress - SYMBAD is a national study to provide evidence to aid clinicians make better choices for patients.”

• The Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics study is looking for people with Alzheimer’s who had memory symptoms before the age of 65 or between the ages of 66-70. Participants must be willing to provide a blood sample and need to have a study partner who also answers some questions. 

• The Dementia Research and Care Clinic (TRACC) study follows people with dementia and their carers after receiving their diagnosis. Professor Michael Hornberger, Chief Investigator for TRACC, said: “The goal is to investigate the different long-term trajectories of symptom changes in people with dementia and their carers. The information can be then used to provide better diagnostics and care post-diagnosis.” 

If you wish to discuss any of the mentioned research or to register your interest for any future studies, please call the NSFT Research Nurses on 01603 978399.

All participation in research is voluntary and people can withdraw at any time. A rigorous permission process of providing our utmost consideration to discussing the aims and expectations for the research with people with dementia and their carers is adhered to. For the majority of our dementia studies we see people in their own homes and can offer expenses for travel to clinics or appointments as necessary.

For press enquiries, email: nsft.communications@nsft.nhs.uk