Programme 5: Ageing
Tuesday 04 December 2008
Ireland's population is getting older. The number of people over 65 will double in the next 15-20 years. With this comes a myriad of sociological, medical and financial issues. Health problems include the increase of age related diseases such as Alzheimer's Disease and Osteoarthritis. We can also expect greatly increased infrastructural pressure on the care of the elderly in hospitals, care institutions and in the home. Irish Investigators are looking closely at the earlier diagnosis of related diseases in order to treat and possibly prevent their onset.
Dominic Walsh (UCD) has identified a key Amyloid protein and his work on the behaviour of this protein in the progression of Alzheimer's disease has been so well received that he has had a number of Nature Papers within the last 12 months and he now claims that he can not only arrest the early development of the disease but possibly even reverse it
Dr Michael Farrell ( Beaumont Hospita) Consultant on the country's first brain banking system where they are encouraging people to donate their brains to research in order to better understand the pathology of certain diseases. Farrell works with Walsh on donor's samples and explains the physical impact of this devastating disease on the brain.
Frank Barry (Remedi, Galway) Over 50% of people over 50 will develop the painful and severely debilitating disease of the joint cartilage known as Osteoarthritis. Stem Cell research is genuinely a treatment of the future. Sidestepping the ethical issues by only working with adult stem cells - Barry's tests on injecting stem cells into the joints of goats have shown some remarkable results in arresting and reversing the early stages of Osteoarthritis. We will be filming with a patient who is suffering with the disease and discussing with a knee/hip replacement surgeon what the possibilities are for the future treatment of this disease.