Shadwell man with Alzheimer’s welcomes new early-diagnosis scan

A brain scan that can spot the early signs of Alzheimer’s is a huge advancement, an East End man who has been living with the disease for a decade said.

John Wright, 69, spoke about how important his own early diagnosis was on Radio 4’s Today programme.

He was invited on the show yesterday to discuss the new brain scan, which is currently being trialled on the NHS.

The scan takes detailed images of the brain, allowing a fast and accurate diagnosis so treatment to prevent the illness from deteriorating so quickly can be started.

Currently, suspected sufferers undergo memory tests which do not always give clear results and require months of waiting to see if symptoms have got worse.

Mr Wright, from Glamis Road, Shadwell, worked as a drag artist with his group Guys In Disguise but had to give it up ten years when he started to forget the lyrics to songs.

He said: “I think this new scan will simplify diagnosis. I would have liked my doctor to have known a lot more about Alzheimer’s.

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“For me, it’s been extremely important to be independent and be able to live life to the fullest. Being diagnosed early is very important.”

Memory tests are not always reliable, the Alzheimer’s Society said.

Dr Anne Corbett, research communications manager, added: “Getting an early diagnosis enables people with dementia to understand their condition, access treatments that could help relieve their symptoms and give them time to plan for the future.”

The Facts behind Alzheimer’s:

One in three people over 65 will die with dementia

Cases are increasing. The 750,000 dementia sufferers in the UK will increase to 1.7 million by 2051

The new brain scan diagnoses the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s with 85 per cent accuracy

Images of the brain are compared with 1,200 others, of which half have the disease and half do not