Dementia is one of the foremost priorities in global health and is estimated to affect over 44 million people worldwide. This has a huge impact on individuals and on society, so improvements in understanding, care and treatments are desperately needed.
In this free online course you’ll discover some of the key issues in dementia care and research by exploring four less common forms of dementia through the eyes of people affected by the condition, and world-leading experts at UCL. We’ll show how research into the signs, stages, symptoms and causes of less common forms can bring us closer to the aim of defeating dementia.
“I work in a care home with people living with dementia. I will use what I have learned here every day to help me understand and appreciate my residents.” Aileen Callaghan, learner in March 2016
A unique insight
Dementia is an umbrella term for a number of diseases, all causing a progressive loss of our ability to think, feel and perceive by affecting how the brain functions. In the four weeks of this course we’ll investigate four forms of dementia that are important to understand better in their own right (they’re often not well recognised), but can also provide important insights that change how we think about dementia in general. We will also make the point that dementia affects younger people too.
Week 1 – What if dementia runs in the family?
Explore the challenges that face families - and ground-breaking research taking place - with people affected by familial Alzheimer’s disease, where the condition runs in the family and often starts at a young age.
Week 2 – What if dementia affects behaviour and personality?
Dementia is not just about memory loss – we investigate the particular challenges for diagnosis and care for people with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia.
Week 3 – What if dementia makes you see things that aren’t there?
Some people with dementia experience hallucinations, and many describe fluctuations in their symptoms over time. These aspects are particularly clear in dementia with Lewy bodies, which you’ll learn about in Week 3.
Week 4 – What if dementia affects your vision, not your memory?
People with posterior cortical atrophy experience changes in the way the brain processes visual information; we’ll explore this condition and the research taking place to help people live better with visual impairment related to dementia.
“The combination of personal stories paralleled by information given by expert clinicians and researchers was very engaging and, coupled with a multitude of interesting comments from course participants, provided a very well-rounded insight into the realities of dementia.” Anne Brink, learner in March 2016
Learn from dementia experts, experts by experience and each other
This course is presented by experts from the UCL Institute of Neurology and Division of Psychiatry who are highly regarded for their work as scientists and clinicians. Importantly, you’ll hear from people who have been diagnosed with dementia, and people who care for a family member with dementia to get a better understanding of the impact that a diagnosis of dementia brings.
You’ll be able to understand how dementia affects people by watching video interviews, look deeper into the topics by reading articles, interact through activities and questions, and also learn from others on the course by taking part in the discussions that accompany each step. You can join the conversation now by signing up and visiting the welcome page.
“I am so glad to have signed up to take part in this course. It has been immensely interesting and helpful, and more than anything else, extremely informative.” Laura Ward, learner in March 2016
This course was created by Dr Tim Shakespeare, Alzheimer’s Research UK Fellow at the Dementia Research Centre, UCL Institute of Neurology.
You can find out what Joy - a social worker and carer practitioner in the UK - thought of this course in her learner story.
In the trailer video, “PiB Pet Images AD” by Klunkwe is adapted & licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0