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Wards Solicitors unites with Bristol charity to help war on dementia

A Bristol-based charity which funds vital medical research into the causes, diagnosis and treatment of dementia, particularly Alzheimer's, has been chosen by Wards Solicitors as its charity of the year.

BRACE, which supports research projects undertaken in universities and hospitals in the South West and South Wales, chiefly in Bristol, has made a £14 million-plus contribution since it was set up in 1987 in the quest to ultimately find a cure for this devastating illness.

Jenny Pierce, Head of Wills, probate and mental capacity at Wards Solicitors, says: "Alzheimer's is a frightening illness which is affecting more and more people as our population ages. We are delighted to announce BRACE as our charity of the year and proud to be part of the drive to support research that has the chance of making a very real difference."

A year of action

Over the course of the next 12 months, Wards Solicitors will stage a variety of events including runs, walks, bike rides, raffles and sweepstakes as well as donating half the sponsorship raised through its annual participation in the Rotary Dragon Boat Festival held at the harbourside in June.

All the money raised for BRACE will come from The Wards Solicitors Centenary Fund set up over a decade ago to commemorate the firm's 100th birthday and specifically to support local causes. The Charitable Fund is administered by Quartet Community Foundation.

Financing pioneering research

BRACE plays an important role in supporting research into treatments, and ultimately a cure, for Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia thus helping to establish Bristol as a world leader in this field.

Initiatives BRACE have helped fund include:

  • Launching a ground-breaking trial that hopes to discover if a drug commonly used to treat high blood pressure could slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease;
  • Establishing the 'Brain Bank' at Southmead Hospital, with tissue donations from both healthy people and dementia sufferers, which are then made available to researchers worldwide in collaborative projects;
  • Developing an important assessment tool, known as the Bristol Activities of Daily Living Scale (BADLS), which is used worldwide to assist in the diagnosis of dementia.
  • Aiding research with a brand new pilot study into possible links between oral hygiene and the progression of dementia at the University of Bristol.

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