I was honoured to attend the 10th year anniversary of the Lewy Body Society – it was the first time I had been to the Houses of Parliament since 1990 in fact, for the late Margaret Thatcher’s last ever #pmqs.
Lewy body dementia tends to have an age of onset in the 50s, and is therefore one of the more common young onset dementias. Prof Ian McKeith was one of the gurus in delineating this type of dementia, distinguished by features of Parkinson’s disease, cognitive problems of a fluctuating type, leg spasms, graphic visual hallucinations. Its molecular hallmark is a ‘synucleiopathy’.
Thanks very much to Conor McGinn MP, and Eimer and Patrick, whom I enjoyed talking to enormously. I am full of admiration for Conor who’d decided to take up the cause having been inspired by personal and professional connections to the condition. Conor is an enormously pleasant guy in real life.
I was honoured to chat with McKeith whose research has been known to me since I was a doctoral student in Cambridge 20 years ago now. McKeith felt that recent developments had seen merging of the dementia diagnoses, but reassured me that medics ‘love categories’. He was much younger than expected.
I was also nice to catch up briefly with Prof Murna Downs at Bradford, and Hilda Hayo CEO of @DementiaUK who felt that my final book on dementia had been the best book ever. I always am very impressed by Anna Gaughan’s sheer grit in furthering the interests of carers for people with dementia, a cause extremely close to my very own heart for personal reasons. I wish I could’ve spoken to Ken Clasper, another hero of mine, but it was great to see Jayne Goodrick and Chris Roberts there who have a special place in my life always.
I am sorry I had to leave slightly early to go back to my own Mum. I would’ve loved to speak to Steve Ford, who as CEO of Parkinson’s UK had funded my own post doctoral research into idiopathic Parkinson’s disease at the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London, just over ten years ago now.