Help the aged announces £1.7 million new investment into biomedical research

Help the Aged today announces that it is funding 20 new studies across the UK through its biomedical Research into Ageing programme.  The studies, totalling £1.7m in value, will research treatments and solutions to bring better health and independence to older people.  The research will be exploring conditions related to older age including dementia, wound healing, osteoporosis and more.

Dr Lorna Layward, Research Manager at Help the Aged, says:  “Health conditions like incontinence and poor mobility are hugely debilitating to millions of older people and scientific research that is trying to help them is scandalously under-funded.  Thankfully the public are signalling their support for more research into these and many other conditions by donating to the Help the Aged biomedical Research into Ageing programme.  With this public support Help the Aged is funding 20 new studies this year.”

“However we are only able to fund about a one-fifth of all the potentially life-changing projects that seek our support, with many finding no funding from any other organisation and becoming consigned to the scrapheap.  We are calling on businesses and the public to donate to us so that we can increase our investment in biomedical research to £5m per year by 2010.  This money is critically needed if we are to discover ways to enable older people to live healthier and more independent lives.”

Improving the health and independence of older people is of critical importance for modern society.  The population of people in the UK aged over 75 is projected to rise by over 70% in the next 15 years while the population of people under 16 is set to decline slightly (1).

The Help the Aged biomedical Research into Ageing programme has 31 years of experience as the only charity funding the full spectrum of conditions associated with older age.  The 20 new studies this year bring its current total to 67 studies taking place among most major academic/research institutions in the UK.  Each of these has the potential to follow in the footsteps of previous breakthroughs funded by the charity including:

  • Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell’s (of the University of Manchester) discovery in 2005 of the ‘brain killer’ molecule IL-1Ra that occurs in stroke.  Her suggested treatments of it are now in clinical trials
  • Dr Dawn Skelton’s (of the Imperial College School of Medicine at St.Mary’s) development of exercise programmes to prevent falls which were implemented by the Department of Health
  • Professor Rose Anne Kenny’s (of the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle Upon Tyne) discovery in 2001 that a heart condition called carotid sinus syndrome causes many falls and can be treated to prevent even potentially life-threatening falls in many cases

To donate to the Help the Aged biomedical Research into Ageing programme contact 020 7278 1114 or info@helptheaged.org.uk

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Notes to Editor:

  • (1) Government Actuary Department website 2007, Period life expectancy, based on mid-2004 population estimates.
  • For more information please contact Mike Foster. Tel 020 7239 1934. Email mike.foster@helptheaged.org.uk.
  • The funded studies include themes as diverse as:

Ways to improve wound-healing – University of Manchester

Better understanding the human bladder to help fight incontinence – University of London 

  • Understanding how the ‘circadian’ clock becomes faulty causing sleep problems – Swansea University
    Help the Aged is the charity fighting to free disadvantaged older people in the UK and overseas from poverty, isolation and neglect.  It campaigns to raise public awareness of the issues affecting older people and to bring about policy change.  The charity delivers a range of services including information and advice, home support and community living that are supported by its fundraising activities and paid for services.  Help the Aged also funds vital research into the health issues and experiences of older people to improve the quality of later life.
  • More information about the Help the Aged biomedical Research into Ageing programme is available at http://research.helptheaged.org.uk/_research/.

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