Oct 3rd 2016

The Many Faces of Dementia (FutureLearn)

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

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.

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.

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.

This course was created, and is led by Dr Tim Shakespeare, Alzheimer’s Research UK Fellow at the Dementia Research Centre, UCL Institute of Neurology.