• Question: How will your research help the future regarding the brain?

    Asked by lesads to Tom on 15 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Tom Hartley

      Tom Hartley answered on 15 Jun 2010:

      There are some problems with the human brain, and the worst one (in my view) is that as we live longer there is an increasing risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. We don’t yet have a cure for AD, and although patients can live happy and worthwhile lives for a long time and drugs can help stablize some of the symptoms for a period, gradually they lose some of the most important and valuable things about themselves, their memories and their ability to communicate and move about. This is not the way I want to end my life, and I don’t want it for anyone else either. If my research could help prevent Alzheimers, or bring effective treatment to patients earlier it would be great. I’ve been lucky to work with some people who are involved in Alzheimer’s research, and they used a test I developed with patients in the early stages of the disease. We found that the test could distinguish people with Alzheimer’s from people with other forms of dementia – this could be helpful because some of the treatments that are used in the early stages of the illness are different for different forms of dementia. More generally, I would hope that by contributing to the scientific understanding of the normal functioning brain, my work will help scientists and doctors in the future come up with new ideas for the treatment of dementia and other brain diseases.