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Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. It affects around 150,000 people in the UK and there is no proven treatment. Three quarters of dementia cases in stroke survivors are thought to be caused by vascular dementia.

In a bid to find ways to treat people living with this devastating disease, the Alzheimer’s Society, British Heart Foundation, Dementias Platform UK and the Stroke Association have united to invest £1.2 million into a vascular dementia research programme.

Led by Professor Joanna Wardlaw, the investment is in a study called "Rates, Risks and Routes to Reduce Vascular Dementia (R4VaD)", which will be undertaken by a large collaborative network involving nine UK institutions: the Universities of Cambridge, Glasgow, Leicester, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford, Kings College and University College London, and Edinburgh. The collaboration is backed by the strengths of the Stroke and Dementia sections of the Clinical Research Networks.

R4VaD is a large clinical study involving about 2,000 stroke patients, which will include assessing their memory and other cognitive skills over at least a two-year period. Researchers hope that by comparing stroke patients who develop vascular dementia with those who don’t, they will be able to unpick the causes of the disease. Ultimately, this trial will help to improve how doctors identify and treat dementia related to stroke in the future.

The Royal Preston Hospital (part of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals) has been an active recruitment site for R4VaD.