News and Events

Supporting changes in services for young onset dementia

How the Angela Project is improving diagnosis and post-diagnostic support for younger people with dementia and their families in the UK.

Currently, there are more than 42,000 people living with a diagnosis of young onset dementia in the UK. Young onset dementia is any type of dementia diagnosed before the age of 65. People diagnosed at this age range - often called younger people with dementia - have different needs from older people with dementia as they may still be employed, have financial commitments, and/or care for their children or ageing parents, as well as have different generational experiences. Younger people and their families face significant challenges gaining access to support that is appropriate to their needs.     

Previous studies have explored the availability of services for younger people with dementia and have emphasised the gaps in care and the lack of specialised services. The literature is full of research reports which focus on the shortcomings of services in the UK. As a result, the public and families affected by young onset dementia may feel discouraged and believe that there are no good services for younger people. This, however, may not reflect the full picture about the support offered to younger people with dementia and their families in the UK.

image of dementia patient with carer

Our research study, The Angela Project, is named after a lady with young onset dementia who went undiagnosed for three years before her symptoms were recognised. The study aims to develop guidance on best practice in diagnosis and post-diagnostic support in the UK; via work-stream 2 of the study which is led by Prof. Jan Oyebode in the University of Bradford, we have gathered detailed information from younger people with dementia and their families about real-life positive experiences of post-diagnostic services.

More than 260 younger people and supporters reported 856 positive examples of support across the country. Despite the current gaps in services, our preliminary findings show that some professionals and services are actually providing really good person-centred needs-led support. We plan to combine our findings with the findings of work-stream 1 (on diagnosis) to develop guidance on best practice which we hope will enable service providers and commissioners to improve the services offered to those affected by young onset dementia. Our guidance will include practical examples that illustrate the range of needs across the experience of young onset dementia and how services can meet these needs.

The team have presented their preliminary findings to our Patient and Public Involvement group, to local NHS Trusts, and in regional and national conferences. The overall success of the Angela Project will depend on whether it facilitates improvements in services for young onset dementia and brings positive changes to the lives of those affected. Therefore, the team are now working to establish sustainable collaborations with health authorities and consortia of service providers and third-sector organisations, to develop research projects that will promote the implementation of the ANGELA project guidance. The team are optimistic about the future impact of the project both for service improvements and for raising awareness about young onset dementia in the public and health sector. This impact is expected to be enhanced by dissemination plans which will target lay and professional audiences, such as professionals in the health and social care sectors, academics and researchers, clinicians, the wider young onset dementia community, and the general public.

The Angela project is a partnership led by University College London.

Expanding Communications Capability with BNL (UK) Ltd

Professor Ben Whiteside, Head of the Centre for Polymer Micro and Nano Technology in the Faculty of Engineering, undertook a research project with BNL Bearings to develop polymer based bearings for the automotive sector. 

BNL Bearings, who strive to be a world class market leader in polymer bearing solutions, worked with Ben on a KTP to investigate early indications of bearing wear properties with specific material types before committing to lengthy life cycle studies.  Ben and the company recruited an Associate to manage the project. The findings indicate that there has been a substantial uplift in dynamic load rating capabilities of certain materials for bearings. These rolling element bearings perform above 90 degrees centigrade and exhibit low thermal expansion for under bonnet applications. Two working prototypes were developed along with a design calculator tool which is now fully deployed in BNL’s new Product Development Department.

Read the full story.

image of plastic bearings

New digital health seminar series launched

The University of Bradford have launched a new series of public seminars for 2019 on innovations in digital health

Der Samar Betmouni, Director of Clinical Pathology and interim director of Digital Health Enterprise Zone (DHEZ) Academic, has introduced a Seminar Series which showcases innovations in digital health and is a forum for academics, healthcare professional and business to network and learn about pubic engagement in healthcare and pathways to implementation of digital health solutions and new models of care.

The series of seminar includes confirmed speakers on a range of digital health subjects ranging from leading innovation approaches, to deploying technology in healthcare.  Find out more about the seminar series.

image of doctor working with transparent digital screens

It’s OK to talk about death

The University of Bradford has received further funding to use archaeology as a platform to encourage people to talk about death and dying.

The Creative Dissemination project is the result of Follow-On Funding for Impact and Engagement awarded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The first grant funded the ‘Continuing Bonds: Exploring the meaning and legacy of death through past and contemporary practice’ until July 2018.

The Continuing Bonds project had already branched into further work, including the Dying to Talk project, which engaged young ambassadors in creating a resource for schools to encourage pupils to talk about death, dying and bereavement. A ‘Death Festival’ was held at the University of Bradford where this video resource was piloted with school-age children and received an overwhelmingly positive response. The Continuing Bonds team have been socially active throughout the project, running public engagement events such as Death Cafes, exhibitions about the project in public spaces (Leicester Cathedral, Gallery II – Bradford) and workshops at various organisations (Bradford Bereavement Support, Cruise Bereavement Care, Marie Curie). 

image of excavated burial site

The Creative Dissemination project runs for 9-months and is led by Principal Investigator Dr Karina Croucher(University of Bradford) and supported by Co-Investigators Dr Jennie Dayes (University of Bradford) and Dr Melanie Giles (University of Manchester). Participants are invited to three creative writing workshops and to contribute to an anthology and celebration event. The anthology and workshop materials will be hosted online to encourage others to hold similar writing events, write about death, dying and grief issues, and to engage an even wider audience on the topic. The creative dissemination project continues with the original drive to normalise talking about death, dying and grief and to use archaeology as a means by which to do this. At its foundation, the Creative Dissemination project is multidisciplinary, drawing on archaeology, psychology, the arts and end of life/palliative care.

At least one paper will be produced during the timeframe of the project, taking this unique collaboration to a practice audience of psychologists. The team intend to apply for further funding. This is likely to include an early-careers researcher grant, where the continuing bonds model of using archaeology to open up conversations about difficult issues, can be applied to other important areas. One idea is to use archaeological and ethnographic case studies to open discussions about present-day symptoms of eating difficulties. The team are also investigating taking the Continuing Bonds model to school groups, working towards a 'death education'. 

Find out more about Archaeology and Forensic Sciences >>