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Reversible dementia project launches multidisciplinary clinic


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A one-stop, multidisciplinary clinic at Addenbrooke’s Hospital to help identify and treat people with normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) and other cerebrospinal fluid disorders, has been launched by the Reversible dementia (REVERT) project.

The clinic, which launched in June, provides patients with an initial assessment by a specialist multidisciplinary team, consisting of consultant neurosurgeon Mr Alexis Joannides, clinical neuropsychologist Dr Lisa Healy, specialist physiotherapist Toby Meek, and advanced nurse specialist Indu Lawes.

The assessment includes a medical consultation, a cognitive evaluation (memory test) and a gait assessment (walking test).  Where NPH is identified as a possibility, the patient will undergo further advanced diagnostics including a lumbar infusion study.

Commenting on the clinic, Mr Joannides, Consultant neurosurgeon at Addenbrooke's Hospital, said: “Our multidisciplinary clinic will improve patient experience: the one-stop approach will save time and money and reduce the number of hospital visits for patients. It will also provide more in-depth assessment to help us offer tailored care and support to patients with NPH alongside their clinical treatment’’.

Mr Joannides, Clinical Lead, was interviewed about the clinic on BBC News Look East and ITV Anglia. The crew also spoke to one of Alexis' patients, Jackie. Read the interviews in these articles from the BBC and ITV Anglia News (includes the video interview). Mr Joannides was also interviewed recently by Chris Mann on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, his interview starting at the 2:10:00 mark.

Launched in October 2020, REVERT project aims to transform the diagnosis and management of NPH, a form of dementia caused by impairment of the circulation of the fluid that bathes the brain and spine, that leads to memory loss, poor balance, and bladder problems. 

Unlike Alzheimer’s disease, NPH can potentially be reversed by surgically implanting a shunt, (a small valve connected to a tube which is inserted into the brain and diverts fluid elsewhere in the body, usually the abdomen). 

This is important as an estimated 5 to 15% of dementia patients (equivalent of about 65,000 - 200,000 people in the UK and France) are misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s each year and should instead be treated for NPH. 

Rapid and accurate diagnosis of NPH as part of an integrated care pathway will improve patients’ chances of leading a more independent life, with significant predicted cost savings on future health and social care provision.

The project has a budget of €3.5m (€2.4m ERDF), and is a collaboration involving clinicians, scientists and software specialists across three Universities (University of Cambridge, University of Picardie Jules Verne, University of Artois), four hospitals (Cambridge University Hospitals, University Hospital of Amiens-Picardie, University Hospital of Brest, University Hospital of Caen) and healthcare informatics company (Obex Technologies Ltd).

To find out more about the REVERT project and its successes please visit the website here.