Women and Neurological Diseases

Women and Neurological Diseases

Overview

Neurological diseases are among the leading causes of mortality and disabilities in the elderly population. Parkinsonism, strokes and Dementia come under the umbrella term of Neurological diseases. These neurological diseases have a detrimental effect on not only the patient but their family and caregivers. They are also known to show substantial co-occurrence, therefore an individual with Dementia has an increased risk of stroke.

The study 

My name is Lucy Field and I am research Scientist at Future Genetics. I have recently read an article which was published by University medical centre in Rotterdam which focuses on Neurological diseases. They conducted a study; the objective of this study was to ‘quantify the burden of common neurological disease in older adults in terms of lifetime risks such as co-occurrence and preventive potential. In this study the health of 12,102 people was monitored over a 26-year period in the years 1990 to 2016. The long duration of the study allows clear identification of co-occurrence of a disease and allows a large sample size giving more reliable data and conclusions

Study conclusion 

The  overall conclusion of this research study was that one in two women and one in three men will develop a Neurological disease in their lifetime. This shows it is more common in women than men, throughout the study data on women was compared with men. The study mainly focuses on age, as all of the individuals involved were above the age of 45. There was evidence to show women are more likely to develop a neurological disease. Not only as a female but a female scientist I believe it is important to raise awareness. Through this article I hope to educate more women about the risk of these common disease allowing us to further educate more women.

 Study Findings

In the study Dementia was seen to be the most common disease with a total of 1489 individual’s being diagnosed, then 1,285 suffered from a stroke. Ischemic strokes were more common at 64.7% and 9.8% had a hemorrhagic stroke. Parkinsonism was the least common neurological disease with 263 individuals’ being diagnosed. A lot of individual’s are only diagnosed with one of the diseases in their lifespan. However, at the age of 45 there was a substantial risk of being diagnosed with multiple diseases. A total of 438 individuals were diagnosed with multiple diseases. Following the trend of more women being affected by one neurological disease, more women were diagnosed with multiple diseases a total of 4% Versus 3% of men. Women were also almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with both stroke and dementia. These high figures show the importance of the need for better prevention strategies.

Neurological disease versus Other common diseases

Neurological diseases get under investigated in comparison to common diseases such as cancer and heart disease. This is because Cancer and Heart disease commonly affect middle aged individual and and neurological diseases normally have a later onset. According to this study, this should not be the case as the lifetime risk of developing Breast cancer in 1 in 8 compared to 1 in 2 developing a neurological disease. The same principle applies for heart disease which affects 1 in 4 people. Those who had been diagnosed with one of the neurological diseases had a higher prevalence of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and an abnormal heart rhythm.

Importance of Preventative interventions

These findings clearly display the importance of preventative interventions which will delay the onset. It has been estimated that if the onset of the diseases is delayed by 1 to 3 years, the remaining risk of developing would be reduced by 20% in 45-year olds and 50% in those older than 85. This huge reduction in both age categories, this demonstrates the importance of the development of a treatment to delay the onset and to maintain a healthy brain. This is one of Future genetics aims.

Licher SDarweesh SKLWolters FJ, et al
Lifetime risk of common neurological diseases in the elderly population

Collaborating to improve NHS patient outcomes

Collaborate and Thrive – how to improve NHS patient outcomes by delivering better medical technologies 

The Challenge 

The NHS continues to take great strides in making a significant contribution to improving the wellness of a population that (at the same time) continues to increase in size and complexity. This introduces challenges to both public and private sector organisations and systems to meet the patient needs and demands. 

 

The challenges on the healthcare system can be addressed in a number of ways. This includes strategies that further improve on preventing disease, with a focus on bridging differences in health inequalities. Another key approach is the need to understand gaps and differences in the care, and quality of different patient populations.

The Opportunity

A key strategy that could add to the armamentarium of healthcare professionals would be to utilise new technology that could facilitate improving health outcomes in the UK population in the form of earlier diagnosis, better health as we age, and improved recovery from illnesses and medical interventions.

 

Clinical technologies need to be developed and appropriately tested for their effectiveness in delivering on their given promise in a timely manner. The process of research and development (R&D) can be a long one. As a matter of fact the vast majority of R&D companies striving to develop new medical technologies are indeed Small to Medium sized companies.

 

Transitioning from concept, research programmes, and testing can be daunting and a challenge. This has been realised by the UK Government and there has been significant investment to support Research companies to deliver on new and exciting medical technology that can lead to better healthcare for all.

 

Representing Future Genetics, I attended the launch event of the Medical Devices Testing and Evaluation Centre (MD-TEC). It was chaired by the former UK Home Secretary for the Labour Government, Jacqui Smith, who is now the Chair of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

  The Right Honourable Jacqui Smith (Chair University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust) and Dr Mohammed Kamran (CEO, Future Genetics)

Pictured: The Right Honourable Jacqui Smith (Chair University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust) and Dr Mohammed Kamran (CEO, Future Genetics)

 

There is a need to have an infrastructure in place to accelerate and bring to market technologies. The function of this newly purpose-built MD-TEC site is to help expedite the transition of clinically innovative technologies from the research bench through to medical utility. This would facilitate streamlining delivery for the benefit of NHS patients and the wider UK population.

 

Many research organisations do not have the full gamut of resources to deliver on goals. Therefore, multi-disciplinary collaboration by Research companies with NHS sites and other research and specialist organisations such as MD-TEC is critical.

 

The MD-TEC site provides state-of-the art facilities for Research companies. During a tour of the facility I was able to see the “pre-patient” set-up that allowed for testing of novel medical technologies and devices. This included a functioning operating theatre, A&E, and ICU facility to test technologies and devices on highly sophisticated “dummies”. Thus any unnecessary human trials or studies can be avoided. In addition, this would also facilitate the design of even better downstream clinical studies.

 

Future Genetics improving NHS patient outcomes

A functioning surgical theatre with a responsive dummy to test the robustness of medical technologies before the start of any human studies (NHS patient outcomes).

 

Future Genetics

Hospital bed with monitoring technologies to help validate novel medical devices and technologies (NHS patient outcomes)

The Solution

The concerted effort by government bodies; organisations such as Innovate UK, SBRI, and the NIHR i4i; charities including Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation; different Academic Science Networks across the country (with the WMAHSN being the closest to me); and different NHS Trusts to support innovative research and inter-disciplinary collaboration can only be good for NHS patients and the wider UK population.

 

Dr Mohammed Kamran

Future Genetics.