A woman comforts an elderly women

Putting our heads together for brain health

Dementia and the other cognitive issues associated with ageing represent some of the most pressing public health challenges of the 21st century. There are currently over 60 million people worldwide living with dementia, with this number predicted to double every 20 years.

Dementia is only one of the many neurodegenerative diseases associated with older age; these also include strokes, traumatic brain injuries, delirium and many others. 

International recognition

At Glasgow we are recognised internationally for our research into age-related cognitive and functional decline. “To better help people maintain brain health in old age we need to move beyond the silo thinking around ‘dementia’ and other diseases that has dominated brain research,” says Dr Terry Quinn of the School of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Health. “In Scotland we are already making progress in researching a broader concept of lifelong brain health”.

Dr Quinn plans to build on this progress and is leading the Scottish Funding Council- funded Brain Health ARC (Alliance for Research Challenges). With a shared vision of improving our nation’s brain health and making Scotland the ‘go-to’ destination for brain health research, the collaboration unites researchers, clinicians and third sector partners such as Alzheimer’s Scotland. 

Scotland has the potential to become the world leader in brain health research. With the supportof the Scottish Funding Council, I am excited about bringing together researchers, clinicians, policymakers and people with lived experience to create new research projects in the brain health space," - Dr Quinn

Changing the narrative

Bringing both research and clinical experience as a consultant and research lead in older adult medicine, Dr Quinn has worked for many years on topics related to older age and brain health. He is passionate about evidence-based practice and has worked to raise standards in clinical research involving older adults. “We wish to change the narrative we frequently hear in the press about the ‘challenge of an ageing population’. We want to seize opportunities to work for, and with, our older adults to improve their health. The language of brain health emphasises these positives, highlighting the potential for interventions throughout people’s lives, not only to treat clinical disease, but to maintain cognitive function and prevent decline – ultimately, preserving and supporting health for longer, better lives.”