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MP Kirsty Blackman gets sneak peek at pioneering dementia research in Aberdeen

06-Mar-17
Article By: Charley Walker, News Editor

Scottish MP Kirsty Blackman recently got to witness first-hand the ground-breaking dementia research taking place at the University of Aberdeen.

The MP for Aberdeen North was led round the university’s cutting-edge facilities by Professor Bettina Platt, chair of translational neuroscience at the university, who was recently involved in a study which revealed the timeline of key changes in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

The findings from Professor Platt’s study revealed early changes that occur as Alzheimer’s develops, which will provide valuable information to improve drug discovery initiatives to target these processes.

Mrs Blackman described her experience at the university as “an absolute privilege.”

She said: “We should all be immensely proud that the University of Aberdeen is playing such a crucial role at the forefront of research into dementia, and the diseases that cause it, and working towards finding a cure.

“It has been an absolute privilege to see first-hand how this is taking place, and to know in my own city people are committed to ending the heartbreak and devastation that so many families experience because of dementia.”

Joined by Robert Hamilton, a supporter of Alzheimer’s Research UK and a member of the charity’s Aberdeen Fundraising Group, Mrs Blackman watched the science taking place at the university, including a visit to laboratories for tissue analyses and microscopy.

Supported by Alzheimer’s Research UK, researchers at the University of Aberdeen work towards finding a prevention and cure for dementia, which currently affects 850,000 people in the UK, and more than 3,000 in Aberdeen alone.

Dr Matthew Norton, director of policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Dementia is our greatest medical challenge and if we are to deliver an effective treatment to change the lives of those affected by dementia, we need all the support we can get.

Kirsty Blackman, Professor Bettina Platt and Robert Hamilton

“Researchers at the University of Aberdeen are carrying out pioneering research into dementia and we are pleased that Mrs Blackman has had the opportunity to see how they are helping in our fightback against dementia.”

The visit comes ahead of the annual Alzheimer’s Research UK two-day conference in Aberdeen, which will see more than 400 scientists descend on the city from 14 March.

There will also be a number of public events on offer to increase awareness and understanding of dementia.

Mrs Blackman added: “I hope people will take advantage of the events surrounding Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Research Conference, so they can see for themselves the importance of this work.

“With so many people across the UK living with this condition, it is reassuring to know how widespread efforts are to defeat it.”

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