University of Leeds experts are backing a fundraising drive to raise £2 million for a world-class brain research centre in Yorkshire by 2015.
The campaign, which is officially launched today, aims to raise money for a centre which will lead research into Parkinsons disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and dementia, including Alzheimers disease.
Currently one in six adults suffers from diseases of the brain. In Yorkshire the number of people over 65 is due to increase by almost half in the next 20 years to close to 1.3 million with the number over 85 rising 90% to 220,000. The medical community needs to be able to respond to the increase in people living with brain conditions.
By 2030 there will be a 20% increase in Parkinsons disease alone, while numbers of dementia patients will soar by 80% - there are already 58,000 people in the region with the condition.
Professor Chris Inglehearn, of the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds, said: As we all live longer, brain diseases that are already common look set to increase dramatically in future generations.
This exciting new initiative is a wonderful opportunity to boost research into this important problem right here in Yorkshire. It will ensure we can attract the best doctors to our hospitals and the best scientists to our universities, and it will set them working together to ensure the very highest standards of care for patients in Yorkshire with these debilitating conditions.
Appeal director Clair Challenor-Chadwick added: With an ageing population brain conditions will be a ticking time bomb in Yorkshire in the near future. To have a centre of excellence for brain research at Leeds means that patients do not have to travel out of the county.
The centre will conduct research for patient benefit and will help Yorkshire scientists and clinicians find new treatments and drug therapies as well as conduct translational research, including clinical trials.
Yorkshire philanthropist Sir Robert Ogden is the patron of the campaign. He said: I am proud to support the Yorkshire Brain Research Centre appeal to create a centre of excellence for research into degenerative brain disease at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals.
"Bringing scientists and clinicians together to conduct research and clinical trials is critically important to finding a way to deal with this problem that threatens to overwhelm us. The outcome will potentially benefit not only the people of Yorkshire, but the entire world.
"Degenerative diseases of the brain such as Alzheimers are one of the biggest challenges we all will face this century. I ask the people of Yorkshire to support the appeal generously for the benefit of this and future generations.
Sir Robert has started the appeal with a personal donation of £250,000.
To donate online visit www.ybrc.org.uk or send a cheque made payable to Yorkshire Brain Research Centre to the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Charitable Foundation, Trust Headquarters, Beckett Street, Leeds, LS9 7TF. Or you can text 88811 and the word BRAIN to make a £5 donation today.
Contact Ben Jones, Press Officer, on 0113 34 38059 or email B.P.Jones@leeds.ac.uk.