New European research on dementia, hearing and vision impairment

5 May 2016

University of Manchester academics will lead a new multi-million European research consortium to investigate the combined challenge of dementia, age-related hearing and vision impairment.

The 5 year SENSE-Cog project received €6.5m from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 research programme and brings together a team from psychiatry, audiology, ophthalmology, psychology, health economics, sociology and medicine.

Two thirds of Europeans over the age of 65 are living with dementia and seventy percent experience either sight or hearing problems. Lead researcher Dr Iracema Leroi said, “In combination these problems have a much greater effect than each one individually. If you have dementia which interferes with your recognition of familiar people, and then you add visual impairment, those affected may experience even greater cognitive difficulty.

The project team will also develop new online tests, guides and multi-lingual training manuals for medical professionals. Dr Piers Dawes, audiologist and co-lead of the SENSE-Cog project said: “We have to understand the scale of the problem and then equip the public, carers and health care workers with the tools they need to deal with it. If we could reduce disability due to hearing and vision impairment, there is huge potential to improve mental well-being and even delay the deterioration of dementia.”

Further details can be found on the SENSE-Cog project website.

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