Why OPTIMA was established
OPTIMA was founded in 1988 by Professor David Smith (Professor of Pharmacology), Dr Kim Jobst (Senior Research Fellow), Elizabeth King (Senior Research Nurse) and Professor Margaret Esiri (Professor of Neuropathology) to study one of the great medical and social challenges of our time: the causes of dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease.
Over 820,000 people in the UK have dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form. This causes parts of the brain to degenerate and die, resulting in symptoms such as memory loss and confusion. The social and economic costs are enormous with dementia costing the economy an estimated £23 billion per year - twice that of cancer, three times that of heart disease and four times that of stroke. By 2040 it is estimated that there will be some 1.3 million people with dementia.
OPTIMA was established to:
deepen our understanding of the changes that occur in the brain as we age
develop better ways of diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
identify the causes of dementia
determine how we might prevent or delay onset of dementia