Swindon and Wiltshire Neurological Alliance

Helping improve the lives of those affected by neurological conditions in Swindon & Wiltshire



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What is Alzheimers?

Alzheimer's disease is a physical disease affecting the brain. During the course of the disease, 'plaques' and 'tangles' develop in the structure of the brain, leading to the death of brain cells.

Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, which means that gradually, over time, more parts of the brain are damaged leading to more severe symptoms.

Symptoms of Alzheimers

In the early stages of the disease, people will experience:

- lapses in memory

- have trouble finding the right words


As the disease progresses and intensifies, sufferers may:

- become confused, and frequently forget the names of people,

  places, appointments and recent events

- experience mood swings, they may feel scared and/or

 frustrated by their increasing memory loss

- become more withdrawn, due either to a loss of confidence

 or to communication problems.



No one single factor has been identified as a cause for Alzheimer's disease. It is likely that a combination of factors including age, genetic inheritance, environmental factors, diet and overall general health, are responsible. In some people, the disease may develop silently for many years before symptoms appear and the onset of clinical disease may require a trigger.


There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, although there are a number of treatment options available to help slow the disease.

People with Alzheimer's have been shown to have a shortage of the chemical acetylcholine in their brains. The drugs Aricept, Exelon and Reminyl (trade names for the drugs Donepezil Hydrochloride, Rivastigmine and Galantamine, respectively) work by maintaining existing supplies of acetylcholine.

A drug called Ebixa (trade name for the drug Memantine) was launched in the UK in 2002. This drug works in a different way to the other three " it prevents the excess entry of calcium ions into brain cells. Excess calcium in the brain cells damages them and prevents them from receiving messages from other brain cells. Ebixa is the only drug that is suitable for use in people in the middle to later stages of dementia.

These drugs are not a cure, but they may stabilise some of the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease for a limited period of time.

Note: Recently, Doctor s have been using the term Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) when referring to patients suffering from the above symptoms. But only when the symptoms are not severe enough to be classified as Alzheimer s. Recent research

has shown that a small percentage of individuals with MCI have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's, however the conversion rate is around 10-15%.


Alzheimer’s Society Salsbury

Short Description

The leading support and research charity for people with dementia, their families and carers. Please contact us for information and services in Swindon and Wiltshire

Web Address


Contact Details

Andrew Day: 01722 326236



Alzheimer’s Society Swindon

Short Description

Local services for people living with memory loss and their spouses / carers.
Singing for the brain
Dementia Café
Social trips
Local forum involvement
Walking club
Pub Club
Life story groups

Contact Details

01793 434340



Alzheimer's Society

Short Description

(England, Wales and N. Ireland)

Web Address



Contact Details

Helpline: 0845 300 0336




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