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Indian-origin expert Ashwini joins Britain’s research team on dementia

Dr. Ashwini Keshavan, an Indian-origin neurologist, has been selected to be a part of a world-class research team in the UK. This prestigious team has been entrusted with the crucial task of conducting research to detect dementia through blood tests and gathering more evidence to support this approach.

The research team’s findings are expected to have a wide-ranging impact in the coming five years, as the potential to diagnose dementia through a simple blood test could revolutionize the way the condition is detected and managed.

Dr. Ashwini Keshavan’s Role in the Research

Dr. Ashwini Keshavan is part of a team that is focusing on p-tau217, a promising biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease. This means that her research is aimed at examining the potential of this specific protein as an indicator of Alzheimer’s, one of the most common forms of dementia.

In parallel, another team of researchers from Oxford and Cambridge universities will be testing various proteins to detect other types of diseases that can cause dementia. The overarching goal of these collaborative efforts is to make the detection and diagnosis of dementia more accessible and affordable, with the research team actively working to recruit participants from across the UK.

Understanding Dementia

Dementia is a syndrome that leads to a decline in cognitive function, which includes memory, reasoning, comprehension, spatial awareness, mathematical abilities, learning capacity, language skills, and decision-making processes. It is a chronic and progressive condition, and the symptoms are distinct from the typical effects of biological aging.

Dementia can have various causes, such as brain cell damage, head injury, stroke, brain tumor, or even HIV infection. While consciousness is not directly affected, dementia can significantly impact an individual’s daily life and independence.

Prevalence and Challenges of Dementia

Dementia disproportionately affects women, with 65% of total deaths due to the condition occurring in women. Additionally, the disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) due to dementia are approximately 60% longer in women compared to men.

Currently, there is no cure for dementia, and treatment options focus on managing symptoms, slowing down the progression of the condition, and improving the quality of life for those affected. However, the research being conducted by the team that Dr. Ashwini Keshavan is a part of aims to revolutionize the way dementia is detected and, ultimately, treated.

The Importance of India’s Initiatives on Dementia

The Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India has been advocating for the government to formulate a comprehensive national plan or policy on dementia. This initiative aligns with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) “Global Dementia Action Plan,” which sets global targets for dementia to be achieved by 2025.

As the world continues to grapple with the challenges posed by dementia, the involvement of Indian-origin researchers like Dr. Ashwini Keshavan in groundbreaking international collaborations is a testament to the country’s growing expertise and contributions in the field of healthcare and scientific research.

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