Understanding alzheimer's and dementia
Dementia itself is not a disease, but an umbrella term used to describe the symptoms - such as memory loss, confusion, and personality change - caused by a lot of different diseases. Named after the doctor who first described it (Alois Alzheimer), Alzheimer's is a physical disease that affects the brain and is the most common cause of dementia.

Whilst there is currently no cure for Alzheimer's, there is a lot that can be done to enable someone to live better with the condition. Leading a lifestyle that combines regular physical exercise, mental activity, and social engagement can help to lower risk. With studies linking table tennis as a potentially effective treatment against the systems of on-set dementia, BAT are exploring this area further in the search for truly innovative ways to combat the disease.
Misconceptions of alzheimer's
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

The progression of alzheimer's

Over time, more parts of the brain can become damaged and as this happens, more symptoms develop, which also become more severe.

Whilst memory loss is a common early symptom, someone with the disease can go on to develop problems with thinking, reasoning, and perception. They might have difficulties with:
  • Visual Perception: judging distance or seeing objects in three dimensions become harder…e.g. navigating stairs or parking
  • Concentration: solving problems or carrying out tasks are more difficult…e.g. cooking meals or making plans
  • Orientation: becoming confused or losing track of the day or date…e.g. mislaying items or forgetting conversations

How alzheimer's affects THE UK

There are currently over 850,000 people in the UK living with the disease, which will rise to over 1 million by 2025.

The latest analysis from the Office of Health Economics show that 1 in 3 born in 2015 will be diagnosed with dementia in later life. As the number of those affected grows, so will the impact on caring for them:
  • Rising Costs: The annual cost of treating dementia in the UK is £26.3 billion. That's an average of £30,000 per affected person
  • Strain on local services: The NHS picks up £4.3 billion of costs and social care £10.3. Meaning over 50% is covered by local services
  • Disproportionate research: Only £90 million was spent on dementia research in 2015. That's just £105 per person
Time for something new
With numbers of those affected by dementia and the cost of treating the disease set to rise massively over the next 10 years, and with so little being put into research each year compared with other diseases, now is the time for action and searching for alternative drug free treatments and therapy.

This is the aim of BAT. Check out our Research page to read more about our original medical study, see how you can acquire our ground-breaking specialised BAT Therapy Table for your community, or get in touch to find out more and how you can support us and get involved.