Gain a unique insight into dementia through the stories, symptoms and science behind four less common diagnoses.

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The Many Faces of Dementia
  • Duration4 weeks
  • Weekly study2 hours
  • AccreditationAvailableMore info

Explore key issues in dementia care and research, through four less common forms

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 online course, you’ll discover key issues in dementia care and research. You’ll explore four less common forms of dementia, through the eyes of people affected by them. World-leading experts at UCL will show how research into the signs, stages, symptoms and causes of these forms can bring us closer to defeating dementia.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds Hello my name is Nick Fox I direct the Dementia Research Centre at UCL’s Institute of Neurology here at Queen Square in London. I’d like to talk to you about dementia. Dementia is the most pressing social and health problem of our time, has devastating consequences for the individual for their families and for society. Dementia is an umbrella term for a number of diseases that cause a progressive loss of thinking skills. Alzheimer’s disease is by far the most common cause but there are many less well-known forms of dementia which affect thousands or millions of people but they’re often under recognised. So how can we better understand dementia, how can we provide the support the care and the treatments that are desperately needed?

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 seconds On this four-week course you’ll learn about dementia from a new perspective with world leading experts sharing their knowledge and importantly patients and carers sharing their candid personal accounts to demonstrate the symptoms and understand the challenges of living with these four less common forms of dementia. These are familial Alzheimer’s disease behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and posterior cortical atrophy. Research into these forms of dementia has the power to help those affected and their families and as we’ll show it can also provide unique insights into dementia in general. For example we’ll talk to professors Martin Rossor and John Hardy who carried out prize-winning work finding the very first gene that causes the rare familial form of Alzheimer’s disease.

Skip to 1 minute and 36 seconds We’ll show how these insights from familial Alzheimer’s disease led to the design of new treatments with huge potential currently being trialled at UCL. The course is designed to be suitable for anybody and we hope it will be particularly interesting for those who interact with people with dementia as part of their work and those whose families and friends are affected as well as students with an interest in dementia. By the time you’ve completed the course we hope you’ll be able to apply your understanding of the different forms of dementia; symptoms, diagnosis, research and support to your personal and professional lives.

Skip to 2 minutes and 11 seconds So please sign up for this free 4 week course about dementia at UCL and learn from world leading experts, individuals, patients and their families and be part of the conversation about the challenge of our time, dementia.


  • Week 1

    What if dementia runs in the family?

    • Introduction

      Find out what’s coming up this week, and learn about what dementia is, and why it is a priority for healthcare and research.

    • What is familial Alzheimer's disease?

      A very small number of people have a gene passed down through the family that causes dementia; often starting at 40-50 years old. What is the impact of this, and how can research help?

    • The hunt for the gene

      In the 90s recognition was growing of a type of Alzheimer's that's passed on through families; scientists knew that finding the gene could dramatically shift our understanding of the disease.

    • Diagnosis, prognosis and treatment

      How is fAD diagnosed, what treatments are available, and how does the disease progress over time?

    • Challenges of living with Alzheimer's disease

      We look at aspects of living with Alzheimer’s disease that might be familiar to many people who know someone with Alzheimer’s disease

    • A new approach to halt Alzheimer's disease in its tracks: the DIAN TU trial

      A new clinical trial aims to slow or stop the disease by treating people before they even have symptoms. We take a look at how it works.

    • Challenges of living with familial Alzheimer's disease

      We look at the particular challenges when Alzheimer’s disease runs in the family.

    • Conclusion

      We hear Stuart's views on the future and recap what we've learned.

  • Week 2

    What if dementia changes behaviour and personality?

    • Introduction

      This week we look at frontotemporal dementia, a group of different dementias that affect the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.

    • The symptoms of bvFTD

      We hear about the particular symptoms that people with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia experience from Shaheen, and experts from UCL.

    • Diagnosis, prognosis and treatment

      We investigate how bvFTD is diagnosed, including the importance of getting a detailed understanding of the individual's history.

    • Using virtual reality to make better tests

      Virtual Reality is being tested to provide a whole new range of assessment techniques

    • The challenges of living with bvFTD

      We look at the particular challenges of living with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia experienced by Hosna and Shaheen.

    • The many forms of frontotemporal dementia

      Behavioural variant is just one form of frontotemporal dementia. Here we find out more about other types of FTD and two people who have difficulties with language due to FTD describe their experiences.

    • Rare Dementia Support

      Support for people with dementia is incredibly important, but can be particularly difficult for those with a diagnosis of a less common form. How have Rare Dementia Support groups at UCL tried to address this?

    • Conclusion

      We hear Shaheen’s views on the future and recap on what you’ve learned this week.

  • Week 3

    What if dementia makes you see things that aren't there?

    • What is DLB?

      This week we take a look at a form of dementia called dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). What causes DLB, how is it different to Alzheimer’s disease and what challenges does a diagnosis of DLB bring?

    • Diagnosing DLB

      Hear Colin's story of getting a diagnosis of DLB, and see how we can help people live well with a diagnosis of dementia.

    • Understanding symptoms of DLB

      Take a deeper look at the symptoms that characterise dementia with Lewy bodies.

    • Challenges of living with DLB

      We hear how DLB has affected Colin and his family, and consider the effects that dementia can have on peoples’ relationships.

    • Mental health and dementia

      What is the relationship between a diagnosis of dementia, and development of depression and anxiety, and how can relatives be affected too?

    • Conclusion

      Recap on what we've learned this week

  • Week 4

    What if dementia affects your vision - not your memory

    • Introduction

      We’ve shown that dementia is not just about a problem with memory. This week we investigate a syndrome where visual dysfunction is the main symptom. What is it like to have this, why does it happen?

    • PCA symptoms and diagnosis

      Hear Ken's story of receiving a diagnosis of posterior cortical atrophy and learn more about the symptoms and changes in the brain in this condition.

    • What is it like to live with PCA?

      We look at two attempts to convey the experience of living with posterior cortical atrophy, the first from a spouse's perspective, and the second in an animation which attempts to represent the visual experience.

    • Researching vision and dementia

      Find out about a project aiming to find ways to support independence in the home of people with visual problems due to dementia.

    • What next after diagnosis?

      We look at how posterior cortical atrophy progresses, and support groups for people with PCA.

    • Conclusions

      We sum up what we've learned this week, and since this is the last week of the course, suggest where you can go to takeyour interest in dementia further.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

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What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify the range of symptoms that people experience as a result of less-common dementia diagnoses.
  • Explain how diagnoses of dementia differ in terms of the parts of the brain affected and the causes of changes in the brain.
  • Reflect upon the experience of people who are given a diagnosis of dementia.
  • Explore the role of scientific research in furthering our ability to care for and treat people with dementia.
  • Apply this knowledge to develop a broader understanding of the symptoms and experiences of people with more common forms of dementia.
  • Evaluate your own views and experiences, in comparison to those expressed by others.

Who is the course for?

The only requirement is an interest in dementia, its effects on people and the brain.
We hope that this course will be of particular interest to:

  • Anyone who works with people diagnosed with dementia
  • People who have a friend or family member who has dementia
  • People in the early stages of the disease
  • Students with an interest in learning more about dementia

Who will you learn with?

I am a postdoctoral research fellow based at the Dementia Research Centre, UCL. My research focuses on the primary progressive aphasias, and the relationship between hearing loss and dementia.

I work for Rare Dementia Support, where I provide support to people affected by a diagnosis of a rare dementia. I also work as a researcher, and am part of a team studying the impact of support groups

Who developed the course?

UCL (University College London)

UCL was founded in 1826. It was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, and the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it.

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