A new research unit on the links between dementia and sleep disturbance and a MedTech event focusing on disruptive technologies that could be used across dementia diagnosis and treatment. Norwich is the place to be this month in the fight against one of Britain’s biggest killers.

The University of East Anglia unveiled a brand-new sleep unit earlier this month. Sleep disturbances can highly affect those with dementia, but it is not known if dementia causes these disturbances or if they could be an early predictor of the disease. This new state-of-the-art unit at the School of Health Sciences will allow participants of the research studies conducted there to stay in the modern, hotel-like room which, as well as monitoring sleep at night, will cater for tests in areas such as balance, memory, coordination and attention throughout the days.

The first study to take place in the unit will investigate whether healthy people who may be at risk of developing Alzheimer’s could be more vulnerable to sleep loss and how their body clock is affected. Lead researcher at the unit, Dr Alpar Lazar, has said “A symptom of Alzheimer’s is poor sleep. Good sleep is central to maintaining cognitive performance- such as attention and memory, as well as general brain health. [Participants] will take part in a three-night lab session under one of two conditions- including one-night complete sleep deprivation, or taking multiple short naps. It may sound gruelling, but we hope it will help us understand more about the links between sleep, the body clock and the genetic risk of Alzheimer’s”.

Perfect timing to the unveiling of this brand-new unit is an upcoming Future Tech event being held at the Earlham Institute on the 26th of April from 10 am – 4 pm. The Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) has partnered with Eastern Academic Health Science Network, UEA and Hethel Innovation to hold an Interactive Technology Roadshow and Dementia Medtech Showcase. The session aims to engage the businesses, academics, industry leaders and regional businesses with the STP workforce and each other and explore how disruptive technology innovations can transform healthcare.  

The morning of the event will explore how disruptive tech innovations might transform the way we deliver health and care and there will be a variety of talks including topics like VR, AI, Blockchain and Robotics. Talks will be given from leaders in the sector including Dr Peter Bannister, Chair of the IET Healthcare Panel. After lunch, the focus narrows in on the fight against dementia and how advances in technology will help us prevent, diagnose and treat the disease that currently affects over 800,000 individuals in the UK alone.

To find out more about the event, and to book your free place, click here, or for more information email fokeeffe@hethelinnovation.com