We do hope you find everything you need quickly through our website... we've tried to make it friendly and super easy to use. However, we understand that sometimes you need a little extra help to find that bit of information. Here are some of the more frequent questions we get asked.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s aren’t the same. Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe the symptoms - such as memory loss, confusion, and personality change - caused by a lot of different diseases that doesn’t have a definitive diagnosis.
Alzheimer's is a physical disease that falls under the term Dementia.
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia. It’s a physical disease that affects the brain. It’s progressive, with additional symptoms developing over time that become more severe as the disease advances.
Whilst memory loss is a common early symptom, someone living with the disease can go on to develop problems with thinking, reasoning, and perception:
Visual Perception: People’s ability to judge distance and pick out similar colour ranges becomes harder (e.g. navigating stairs or parking).
Concentration: People’s ability to solve problems or carry out tasks are more difficult (e.g. cooking meals or making plans).
Orientation: People can become confused or lose track of the day or date (e.g. mislaying items or forgetting conversations).
There are currently 850,000 in the UK living with dementia, which will rise to over 1 million by 2025.
Someone develops the disease every 3 minutes and recent analysis from the Office of Health Economics showing that 1 in 3 born in 2015 will be diagnosed with dementia in later life.
Dementia costs the country over £26 billion a year, with the drugs alone costing in excess of £4 billion a year. However only £74 million was spent on research in 2016, compared to Cancer Research spending £376 million in 2015.
Whilst many people associate Alzheimer's with memory loss alone, there are a number of other symptoms that develop as part of the progression of the disease, which you can see below. However, this is not the only misconception surrounding the disease:
It's only for the elderly: Whilst more common in older people, it can affect people as young as 30 (as a result of brain damage from head injuries, strokes, or brain infections to name just a few). Typically Alzheimer's develops in a person's 50s.
It's a natural part of ageing: Alzheimer's is a disease and medical condition and is not inevitable as a person ages. If it were then everyone would develop it as we got older. It's estimated dementia affects 5% of the UK population over 65.
There is nothing you can do: As a progressive disease, it continues to worsen the longer one has it. However, there are many things you can do, such as regular activity, eating healthier, and keeping your mind working to help reducing it's development.
It's a genetic disease: It's true that some rarer forms of Alzheimer's are caused by genetics and you are at higher risk if a family member developed the disease, however lifestyle plays a far bigger and more important role in Alzheimer's development.
Memory loss means Alzheimer's: Once reaching middle age, most people start to have a slight decline in their memory and this is considered a natural part of ageing. The development of Alzheimer's is associated with multiple symptoms, not just memory loss.
BAT stands for Bounce Alzheimer’s Therapy.
BAT is a registered charity under BOUNCE ALZHEIMER'S THERAPY (BAT) UK - Registered Charity Number: 1159618
At it’s core, BAT is a health & wellbeing charity delivering a specialised table tennis Alzheimer’s therapy programme to provide UK care settings, medical sector, and health organisations with access to tailored equipment, expert training, and free resources.
Table tennis can be played by anyone regardless of age, gender, or ability…it can even be played sitting down. It’s a low impact activity that has benefits mentally, physically, and socially.
If we look at the elements of table tennis we can see how it’s a beneficial activity:
Hand-Eye Coordination: Guiding the ball in play and readying for shots.
Fine Motor Skills: The subtle wrist movements and shifting bat angle .
Upper Body Strength: Reaching for shots and motion of play.
Balance: Small and larger foot movements as you play.
Cognitive Function: Anticipating shots and constantly adjusting during play.
Blood Flow to the Brain: Raising heart rate over a period of time.
Happiness: It’s a fun game to play that gets people smiling.
Many of these can be related to real life scenarios. For example if you think about the movement of stretching out an arm to reach a shot, is very similar to the motion of putting on clothing. The subtle wrist movements can strengthen this area allowing people to maintain a good grip.
BAT is currently focused on 2 main areas:
Equipment Development: In partnership with Butterfly (one of the largest table tennis equipment manufacturers), Inclusion (a US based table tennis equipment specialist), and University of Sterling, BAT has created the worlds first table tennis therapy table. The BAT Therapy Table is designed to enhance the table tennis play for those living with Alzheimer’s.
Medical Research: In partnership with King’s College London, BAT are delivering an original piece of medical research during 2017. The study is looking at the positive effects and benefits playing table tennis has mentally, physically, and emotionally on those living with Alzheimer's.
In time we’ll be building a special training programme for care settings, activity coordinators, care managers, and anyone involved in Alzheimer’s wellbeing.
We’re also delivering a roadshow called the Table Tennis Tea Time Tour, which provides an event within care homes involving tea & cake, mind games, and table tennis.
This is alongside providing equipment to settings, delivering our study results, and pushing the conversation about drug free therapy.
BAT Therapy Table
The table is designed to enhance the table tennis play for those living with Alzheimer’s.
Firstly, the colour scheme of the table has been changed…although memory loss is the most well know symptom of Alzheimer’s, vision impairment is also common as the disease develops, meaning people start to lose the ability to focus on objects and even the ability to distinguish between similar colours in the same shade ranges. The MKII provides a clear contrast for the table surface against backdrops and the ball colour.
Secondly, the table has panels on either side of the table. The panels are the same colour as the table surface to again provide contrast. Additionally the panels enclose the play space, allowing a) for extended rally play by keeping the ball on the table longer and b) different game play as the ball bounces at various angles off the panels.
All of this enhances the therapeutic application of table tennis play for the user.
We want to deliver an initial collection of 40 limited edition BAT Therapy Tables to care settings across the UK. If you're a care setting, health body, community group, or corporate organisation, see how you can support your local care community with a BAT Therapy Table below and register your interest today:
Acquire a BAT Therapy Table: If you're a care setting or health body who would benefit from a BAT Therapy Table and activity programme, register your interest and we'll contact you to chat in more detail.
Donate a BAT Therapy Table: If you're a community organisation looking to make a positive impact for those living with Alzheimer's, register your interest and raise funds to help donate a BAT Therapy Table to a care setting local to you.
Sponsor a BAT Therapy Table: If you or your company are looking to make a difference in the lives of those with Alzheimer's, register your interest to find our more about our corporate partner opportunities.
If you're interested in talking more about acquiring a BAT Therapy Table, fill in our Registration of Interest form and we'll be in touch.
BAT's Medical Research
BAT and many people who play the sport strongly believe that table tennis can be beneficial, but it’s not been proven that it is or how it can be…that’s what we’re aiming to do with our study.
There are two main reasons we’re delivering the study. Firstly we want to have the evidence to back up our work. Secondly and more importantly we want to move the national conversation forward around alternative drug free therapy for afflictions like Alzheimer’s.
We want to be able to take our findings to Public Health England and ask “What are you going to do about it?” To influence how they push the agenda on Alzheimer’s treatment and even how activities like table tennis could benefit those living with other illnesses.
Studies carried out in 1996 and 1998 in Japan explored the potential of table tennis as an effective therapy in the reduction of cognitive decline and ability to delay onset symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
Trials showed table tennis activated up to 5 portions of the brain in the Alzheimer's subjects during play. In the light of the positive outcome, the study's deliverers designated table tennis as the World's Number One Brain Sport.
These papers indicate the vast potential of table tennis for those living with Alzheimer's. However, given that they're over 20 years old now, that we have a greater understanding of the development of Alzheimer's, and the advances in medical technology and research techniques... BAT feel it was hugely important to conduct a completely new piece of medical research.
BAT are looking at the positive effects and benefits playing table tennis has mentally, physically, and emotionally on those living with Alzheimer's.
The study will consist of 32 volunteers, all with early stage Alzheimer's, who'll be divided into two groups. The first taking part in specialised table tennis sessions with the other living life as normal, all for a 10 week period.
Volunteers will take part in MRI scans and other simple cognitive tests and well-being questionnaires at the beginning and end of the study. We'll also conduct interviews during as part of a wider anecdotal case study to accompany the formal research.
There are several ways you can support our work:
Tell the world: Spread the word about BAT to anyone you know that works in Alzheimer's, is connected to the health sector, has friends or family living with the disease, or may be interested in our work.
Patient Recruitment: Do you know anyone who has Alzheimer’s that may wish to be part of our study?
Donate: You can donate funds... all of which will be used to help care settings access our equipment and training.
Fundraise: You can deliver a fundraising event with friends or colleagues, raise funds through taking part in an event, or self raise funds to access our equipment.
Follow Us: Through our website and social media links you can see what we’re up to.
The BAT Foundation is a health & well being charity delivering a national table tennis Alzheimer’s Therapy Programme and providing resources and specialised training to settings focused on Alzheimer’s care across the UK.
Keep up to date with what we’re doing and all the latest research news by following us on Facebook and Twitter and checking back here.
We greatly appreciate any donations received to support our work.