While I remember, let me talk to you about dementia

It’s over six months ago that I did a blog posting explaining that I have been invited to volunteer for a study examining the risk factors for dementia. For various reasons, it was only today that I had my first hospital visit connected with the study.

I spent almost four hours at the Imperial Research Hub at Charing Cross Hospital in London where I was subjected to a whole battery of physical and mental tests.

The physical tests included blood pressure, blood sample, urine sample, alcohol breath test, measurement of height, weight and waist, and all sorts of checks on chest, back, arms, hands, legs, feet.

The mental tests included repeating the detail of short stories, recalling lists of nouns and numbers, counting down from 100 in various steps, drawing a complex mixture of shapes, identifying a variety of angles, and transposing numbers into symbols and symbols into numbers.

Additionally I had to answer a very long questionnaire about my health, the health of my family, and my professional and personal activities and a short questionnaire about my use of smartphone, computer and e-reader.

The next stages – over the coming few weeks – are to have a brain MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and a PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scan. The MRI will check if there are any existing mental problems. The PET will measure the concentration of beta-amyloid in my brain.

The project requires 500 volunteers, 250 with a higher than designated level of amyloid and 250 with a lower level. The main purpose of the project is to see whether the level of amyloid is a risk factor in the likely development of dementia.

If I’m accepted for the study – which will depend on the level of amyloid in my brain – then I will have checks every three months for the next three and half years. I will have study partner – in my case, my sister – to observe any changes in my behaviour that might indicate the onset of dementia.

All part of the fun of growing old … but I’m happy to contribute to medical science and possibly assist in the development of measures that can lessen the incidence of dementia or at least improve its treatment.


  • Mavis

    I do so hope that eventually we will find the cause.

    Being a full-time carer for the last 4 tears and watching my Cousin who has been with me all my life (she is 89) slipping away from being her is something I sincerely hoped never to have to encounter.

    Do not let anyone tell you that the person who has dementia does not know …………. they do until the mind really gives up.

    Stick with the program Roger, it is needed.

  • Roger Darlington

    So sad about your cousin, Mavis. Such a devastating condition.

  • Iain McLaren

    A very worthy project, Roger, and congratulations on signing up to it. I think it takes bravery to do so

  • Danila

    You are a special person and a brave one to do this.
    This desease is horrific, I see how it destroyed my aunt’s mind and it breaks my heart not able to reach her!

  • Roger Darlington

    So sorry to hear about your aunt. We have to find a way to identify this condition early and to halt and even reverse it,


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