An innovative new brain health service has been officially opened in Aberdeen by Maree Todd, MSP, Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport.

NHS Grampian’s Public Health team has been working in partnership with Scottish Government and Brain Health Scotland, which is an Alzheimer Scotland initiative.

This is the first example in the UK of a brain health service that offers a drop-in, self-referral system.

Chair of NHS Grampian, Alison Evison said: “NHS Grampian is thrilled to have worked alongside our partners to make this service a reality through shared experience and expertise. The teams from all partners have worked extremely hard to turn this around very quickly and I am certain the benefits to our local communities will be felt for years to come.”

The service will be based in the Alzheimer Scotland Brain Health and Dementia Resource Centre in the town centre and provide people who are worried about their brain health with support and an initial assessment. The service team can then provide a personal brain health plan to support people to take steps to improve their brain health.

Alzheimer Scotland Chief Executive, Henry Simmons said: “We are delighted to see the first brain health service in Scotland, hosted in our Centre in Aberdeen, open today. This is one of the most positive developments Alzheimer Scotland has ever been a partner in and full aligns with the transitioning of our Centres across Scotland to become Brain Health and Dementia Resource Centres. We look forward to continued partnership and supporting the brain health approach in Scotland.”

Research has shown that up to 40% of dementias can potentially be prevented through early intervention to support people to modify behaviour around the 12 risk factors.

Brain Health Consultant, Tom MacEwan, said: “We now know that many of the diseases that can cause dementia start in the brain a long time before obvious symptoms might begin to show. There are many things we can do to protect the health of our brain throughout life and to help reduce our risk of developing certain brain diseases. This service can help people in identifying those markers in their lifestyle and support them to making the positive changes to improve their brain health.”

The service will also be accessible through NHS Grampian’s Healthpoint team and by direct referral from a GP. The demonstrator site will also provide evidence of the impact of this new approach, through independent evaluation, which will inform the further development of brain health services throughout Scotland.

Maree Todd, MSP, Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport, said:

“I want to commend everyone involved in establishing this innovative service. We know we have so much more to learn about how we engage people around their brain health and dementia risk, and this is such an incredible first step to understanding the benefits such a service can bring better.

“Scotland has the potential to be truly world leading in this area and we will continue to prioritise progress with brain health as one of the key priorities in our new Dementia Strategy for Scotland, Everyone’s Story.”

The service is for anyone, regardless of age, who might have concerns about their brain health and can drop-in to the Brain Health and Dementia Resource Centre on King Street, Aberdeen.

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