This week we take a look at vascular dementia and studies on Join Dementia Research that are recruiting people with this form of dementia.

Miniumum_size_logoVascular dementia is a common form of dementia that’s estimated to affect more than 135,000 people in the UK.


Signs and symptoms

Many cases of vascular dementia start with early warning signs, including slight:

• slowness of thought
• difficulty with planning
• trouble with language
• problems with attention and concentration
• mood or behavioural changes

Read more about the symptoms of vascular dementia.

What causes vascular dementia?

Vascular dementia is caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, which damages and eventually kills the brain cells.

This can develop as a result of:

• narrowing and blockage of the small blood vessels deep inside the brain (known as small vessel disease)
• a single large stroke (where the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly cut off)
• lots of mini-strokes that cause tiny, but widespread, damage to the brain

Source: NHS Choices

Studies recruiting people with vascular dementia

Some of the symptoms of vascular dementia are related to the health of the heart, such as high blood pressure. Scientists are hopeful that medication which can treat these symptoms, may be effective against the condition as a whole. The AFFECT trial aims to test whether a commonly used treatment for high blood pressure and chest pain can double up as a treatment to improve the health of people affected by the most common type of vascular dementia, subcortical ischemic vascular dementia (SIVD).

IMG_1616 (1)The Birmingham Cognitive Screen (BCoS) is a paper and pencil assessment used to assess aspects of memory in people with cognitive impairment. It was developed for understanding the cognitive profiles of survivors of stroke. It helps indicate whether a person might have difficulty in memory, communication, attention, decision making, planning or carrying out everyday tasks. The Assessing the cognitive profiles of different types of dementia study aims to compare performance on the BCoS in different groups of younger people (under 75) with mild dementia. The profiles between individuals with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease and individuals with a diagnosis of Vascular Dementia will be compared. BCoS will also be compared with an existing assessment, the ACE-3, used routinely for dementia assessment, on how well BCoS reflects the full range of abilities within individuals.

The NIMROD study is looking at the relationship between memory disorders and inflammation of the brain. Using brain imaging methods, the study team hope to enhance early diagnosis of dementia. They will also explore how addressing neuroinflammation may be used to treat and even prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s as well as to differentiate between different forms of dementia.

QuestionnairesThe IDEAL study investigates what helps people to live well with dementia. It is the first large-scale project of its kind, and what the researchers find out will be used to recommend policy and practice to social and health care professionals and produce advice for people with dementia and those who support them. NHS staff visit volunteers in their home to talk about dementia, and what can really help make lives easier and more fulfilling. Researchers will visit three times, twelve months apart, and talk to both volunteers and family members or friends, and bring questionnaires for completion. Each new visit, they will be interested to learn about what has changed. You can find out more by visiting the IDEAL project online.

There are a number of other studies recruiting people with vascular dementia, including the VALID study evaluating community occupational therapy for people with dementia and their family carers,  the SAMS Reliability study looking at whether personal computer use can help detect memory or cognitive problems and the Time for Dementia programme helping train the healthcare professionals of tomorrow and improve the way that people with dementia are cared for by health services.


You can see if you are eligible for any of these studies – and others around the nation by logging into your Join Dementia Research account. If you haven’t yet registered with Join Dementia Research, why not sign up today?