Cafe Scientific, Southampton, UK, past talks


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Some summaries etc of past talks held at the venue, The Southwestern Arms (upstairs room) , 36 Adelaide Rd, St Denys, SO17 2HW
Some hosts are not alowing remote linking now , so to view a "forbidden" picture you have to right click on the mouse and select "view". Not verbatim, and there will be homonyms, transcription, transliteration, typing and spelling errors and misattributions in the following write-ups. Q&A , grouped under one "Q" or ? terminator tend to be dialogue with / multiple questions from one enquirer. ? for unheard / masked words , ??? for phrases.


Monday, 09 June, Edible Insects: The future of food and farming - Dr Jenny Josephs from the University of Southampton will talk to you about why she thinks insects might be a part of your diet in the near future, and also provides some crispy crickets for you to enjoy. 1.5 hours, 50 people The topic encompasses different disciplines , from agriculture, engineering, biology, nutrition. Entomorphagy is the practise of eating insects, by people or animals. Why its a good idea for humans to eat insects, why its environmentally sustainable , whether it is safe, whether legal and who does it benefit. Insects are 6-legged invertebrates, includes beetles, flies,wasps, moths and termites. When it comes to edibility , perhaps the term bugs as sometimes we include arachnids or centipededs , snails and moluscs. I own pet bugs as a kind of hobby. As a student I wasn't allowed a pet cat. I could order insects and they'd come through the post , I could breed them, look after them and watch them grow. I've pet cockroaches , stick insects, beetles, giant 30cm centipedes. Watching the larvae grow I noticed they looked kind of meaty. I did some research into this and found that people do eat insects and more wide-spread than I thought it was. There are insetives from the UN, the Food and Agriculture Organisation. Articles by the likes of Gordon Ramsey and Heston Blumenthal cooking insects. Maybe I could turn this into a business idea and breed insects and sell them for food. I started an enterprise , the Bug Shack and a month ago at the Habbit pub environmental rock, giving out free samples. About 90% of the people at the stall tyried some. The general reaction was that they were nicer than they thought they'd be. Some were vegetarian but as not able to see welfare issues with insects they'd give it a try. Some were completely against it or yuck. It was good fun. I'm just back from a conference on edible insects , the biggest in Europe , 450 people from 45 countries, which just shows the interest in this. Hopefully this will become a big area in the next 10 or 20 years. Basically the areas that don't eat insects are the western countries. Most insect eaters are in the southern hemisphere, places like Mexico chapolines? chilli flavoured crrickets and popular there. Peru has beetle grubs , Uganda the sago or palm weevil juicy grubs full of protein. In Thailand they have 20,000 insect farms the biggest such operation in the world. People farm they're own and its considered a delicacy . In thailand insects are more expensive than regular meat like chicken or pork. In China they have giant water-bugs, fried or battered a delicacy as well. I've added Australia as witchiti grubs are eaten there and I think they look quite tastey. In the UK we eat things that I consider looking disgusting uncooked lobster prawns , crabs usually quite expensive here. Lobster used to be considered a poor man's food. Personally I never ate fish until aged 19 and when I was in Vietnam and most of the food was fish and I realised it was not as bad as I'd thought. We also eat moluscs like oyster and snails at least in france as a delicacy. We don't eat insects in the UK , they look leggy ,crunchy , crispy . Mealworms you would eat wholle, no need to chew that much. Locusts are Kosher and are allowed to eat them if Jewish. Some disgusting/disturbing foods we do eat in the UK. Reshaped ham with water salt and sugar, mechanically recovered meat goo from the feet etc used to make chicken nuggets, turkey twizzlers. Cheap burgers - no one knows quite what is in them. Hot dogs and other cheap meat is very processedand not very healthy. But at the same time , people don't care, they don't check to see what is in their food. If people cannot see that it is chicken feet, legs or heads they don't really mind. So I don't think there will be too much of a psychological barrier to people eating insects. Of the audience , how many have eaten insects and which have you tried. 1/ Grasshoppers and centipedes , in north Yorkshire , on an exercise more out of necessity. 2/ Mealworms at your stall, like caramalised onion 3/ Chilli crickets in Mexico a few times, tastey 4/ chocolate ants , in Winchester a lady like yourself 5/ ants eggs , not much taste Why is entomorphagy a good idea. A picture by Next Millenium Farms i nthe USA who make cricket flour , expensive 30 dollars per pound. Take the crickets, dry them and then mill into a flour, use dto make cakes or bread . 2 times the protein of beef, mor eiron than ion spinach or calcium than in milk and all 9 essential amino acids. So cricket flour is highly nutritious . Humans cant generate our own amino acids so we have to ingest different foods containing those nutrients. Not all types of meat contain all of these. So if you had a limited diet then adding crickets to your diet, would add to your health or wellbeing. Using research by Daniella Martin . She compiled the nutritional values of differet meats including insects. A summary of insects compared to traditional meats. Only first and second place winners entered into the table Protein, first is beef closely followed by mealworms, 26gm/100gm versus 24 Fat, waxworm is much higher Calcium, black soldier fly is ridiculously high compared to othe rmeats, 934mg / 100 gm relative to 40mg in crickets which are high compared to beef or chicken. Black soldier fly larvae are very nutritious and in a land with poor resources, poor land, little water then something like those would be a useful farmed creature. B12 the soldier fly and crickets ar emuch higher than chicken or beef. For people into body building , what is the highest protein value in different meats , so regular stake 29%, dry the meat and it increases the %ge. If you dry crickets then a product that is 69% protein. Its easy to transport , when dry a very long shelf life and is highly nutritious. Sustainability of edible insects. Consider the inputs required for 1Kg of protein. How much foodstuff to your cows or pigs or chickens. About 25Kg of feed for 1Kg of edible beef. 8Kg of feed for 1Kg of edible pork. For 1Kg of edible crickets you need only 2.2Kg so 10 times more feed for a beef product than a cricket product. Not very efficient , breeding cows when you could be breeding something requiring much less input and high nutrition. How much of the animal you are breeding do you actually use. Cows its about 40% not eating bones, skin . With crickets you eat about 80% , if mealworms then 100%. Not throwing away or using for a different purpose. How much land use . Cows need a lot of pature, figures of maximum and minimum bridging on economic and welfare issues. Mealworms to beef ,chicken or pork you need hardly any room . For mealworms you can talk in terms of cubic feet rather than square feet of pasture as you can build upwards on any old land not pasture, you can't stack cows. I was talking to a farmer and an important issue is the water useage. For 1lb of edible beef you need 1000 gallons of water , 600 gals for 1lb of edible pork , 150 for chicken but only 1 gallon of water for 1lb of edible crickets. So a no-brainer. For crickets you are simply using so much less resources. I've been told that in the UK we have a serious problem with the amount of water extraction and drying-up of rivers. Whether interest in the environmental or nutritional asects of edible insects , just that we cannot sensibly increase farming , swap to a lower resource requirement for our future farming purposes. Another issue with farming is emissions. Greenhouse gases like methane, cows let off a lot of methane, pigs also a lot. Crickets , mealworms and locusts hardly emit any methane. The ammonia levels are highe rwith beef and pork than insects. Welfare issues and animals in a cramped close denvironment is not good. A mealworm farm , stacked , don't care about being in the dark or cramped and no issues with fighting. Compared with chickens often de-beaked to stop attacks on each other, bad for farmer and safety of the chickens. No antibiotics required , no horns clipping . A lot in the news about population increase , by 2050 up to 9 billion people. As it is today many people are starving, how can they have a nutritious diet. So challenges to the global community . We need to produce more food or distribute it better to people in need . Again with climate change, how does that affect crops. Difficult to predict drought or flood and so difficult to predict crop failures . Providing food in areas where resources are scarse. Poor land for crops or not enough water for crops . Environmental damage as a consequence of the required more intensive farming of crops or animals . One challenge that might solve some of these issues is edible insects. I've been told that because our ancestors were vegan , not predators like lions or bears , why don't we just all become vegan. That would solve a lot of problems by eating high protein crops rather than animals. Chimps and our closer ancestors were not vegan , eating termites and known to eat meat , canibalising killed animals even small deer and monkeys. It is important for our brains , 25% of our energy intake goes towards powering our brains. In chimps its only about 8%. Maybe our eating more protein has enabled our evolution of bigger brains. Take the mountain gorilla , both big and muscelly but eats mostly vegetation. Is that a good argument against edible insects . The mountain gorilla has very big digestive organs to eat plant matter and obtain the protein. In comparison we are designed to be omnivores. We eat some plants and some meat. If we had an entirely vegan diet then apparently we'd need to sleep more and eat more. We give antibiotics to animals and if we increase animal farming intensity we have to give more antibiotics, end up in our bodies and the antibiotics will eventually not work for us. With increased farming, increased fertilisers and psticides , often chemicals of which the run off can get into rivers causing algal blooms , stopping oxygen getting to the river creatures. Deforestation is always an issue when you are increasing farming . Genetic modification of crops is one avenue for enough food in the future but unknown effects it may have on us. A theory associated with the consumption of a lot of Soya protein instead of meat protein , contains a lot of plant oestrogen and may affect male sexuality and testosterone levels. A number of side issues with soya but needs more research. A big issue is whether edible insects are safe to eat. So allergies and pathogens. People allergic to shellfish are also probably allergic to edible insects as they contain similar materials associated with exoskeletons . Again more research needed on this factor. The standards of hygene for food production will always be an issue. Requires washing the products and prepare safely, that kind of thing. Is it safe to eat if someone is allergic to tomatoes or peanuts, if the insects have been eating those. Again unknown territory. I've met a few people recently doing PhDs on pathogens and edible insect safety. In the next few years there will be info on these specific things. Generally the insects I use are bred on bran , carrots or potato, so fine to eat . As for cooking, they need to be well cooked, washed, inspected for any dodgey old dead ones in there. You don't want to overcook them as the protein denatures then. Eating insects out of the garden. A bad idea because you don't know what they've been eating. OPerhaps eating pesticides , poisonous plants . An issue that turned up in the USA was people letting free their giant African land snails . Could be a nice large meal for csomeone who liokes snails . But the snails like to eat rat faeces , you can get rat lung worm and menengitis so don't eat snails out of the garden. To get round that, if breeding them yourselves. Tsake a species you know is safe to eat, breed on to the next generation , not eating the garden ones and don't feed them the day before . How long are such products safe for , storage temperatures and those things. The people at the recent conference , from all parts of the world were working on these issues. So now I offer you some to try. Mealworms, some are plain, some cooked in spices , some in soya sauce. Cooked them soon before coming here, kept refridgerated meantime and I'd use them within 2 days. As these were partially dried, they would last a bit longer. Anyone allergic to shellfish, don't try them. In culinary terms mealworms are useful because they easily absorb any sauces they are cooked in. ( The plain ones to me tasted vaguely like grain but rather bland, the soya ones tasted of soya, compared to some radishes I had earlier which were very earthy tasting and I prefered the mealworms) Flavours added because they don't tend to have much flavour in themselves. A mealworm farm small factory I recently visited, produced about 2 tons per week. Is it legal. There are several shops in the UK selling edible insects and it is legal. There are a couple of pop-up restaurants in London ? and the other is Grub and probably more to follow . 75 pounds for a meal , several small courses, very expensive but is legal. According to the Novel Foods Act we can eat or sell things that have been eaten by a significant number of the population prior to 1997. In that list are included several types of cricket , types of locust, waxworms , types of mealworms and silkmoths and a few others that are so allowed . There are about 1500 know species of edible insects so hopefully in the next few years some of those will be added. With legislation its not so much can we eat them , or can ewe sell them its more can we farm them in the UK for human consumption. I recently visited a Netherlands mealworm farm , lots of stacks of mealworms in drawers. My intention is to set up an insect farm in the UK, that is doable but a lot of clarification is needed with the laws. A lot of guidelines are needed , how many per sq m etc. From the conference there will be some legislation in the next 2 years that should clarify this. Then we will see edible insect farms and shops in the UK. Some of the current farms that breed for reptiles and zoos and pet owners , they are ready to sell for human consumption. They have the infrastructure and knowledge . At the moment we tend to import . What will become an important issue is feeding insects on waste-streams. So things like manure , organic wastes from farms , whether we can feed insects on this and then feed thse insects to farm animals as animal feed. This is provbably more of a difficult issue than for human consumptioon. For animals we can not be sure of starting something like the BSE problem and people are worried about that. More research needed there. That perhaps happening 20 years from now, who knows. Perhaps not fed on manure but perhaps fish or poultry , something the law will need to clarify. Things like dung beetles and flies love manure, its full of nutrients, food for them at least. Who benefits from edible insects. I'm interested in it because I think its fascinating , something that will happen . I think a lot of people will benefit when it all becomes more mainstream. For anyone interested in reducing their food miles. Edible insects can be bred in any country, don't have to rely on outdoor weather conditions. You don't need much space. Their are companies setting up cricket farms for the home , mealworm or soldier fly farms for the home. They can be in your own kitchen and you can be responsible for your own protein meat. You can feed them on local produce . If we use insects instead of beef or pork then we can definitely reduce the water required in agriculture. This will be a massive issue in the coming years. With insect farming you would not expect extra chemicals going into the environment. Nice for cows , they may get more room and not be eaten so much. Farmers often have a problem getting rid of the manure they have . When it becomes possible to feed insects on manure and then do something useful with those insects then it will solve 2 problems at once. Perhaps helping farmers to get a second income from what they're already doing. For some friends in Scotland, Bugs for Life , they've been working in Benein talking to them about insect farming and a sustainable source of protein without much food or water input. There are people knitting bags for storing crickets allowing people to have their own cricket farms at home. I think the charity section will have an importance in edible insects . If people are in places where they don't have their own resources to grow crops or sporadic droughts and other catastrophes then insects can become a reliable food source. I know a number of people involved in body-building , weight-lifting and they say we have whey protein, it doesn't taste very nice , its synthetic , but give us insects for breakfast we'd be happy to try them. Companies like Bug Muscle in the USA are now providing processed insects for body builders. In the netherlands I visited a feed processor where they were taking insects and turning them into food pellets for animals. This could be a cheaper feedstuff for farmers than current sourvces of protein. Further reading recommendations The Insect Cookbook : Arnold van Huis Edible: Daniella Martin Edible Insects: FAO, forestry paper 171 Wageningen Eat-A-Bug Cookbook:David George Gordon Some pics from the Nethrlands wasp larvae, mealworms on a quiche, asterissk? grub larvaea, locust salad all tastey and cooked by the Nordic Food Lab . Q&A Which type of cooked insect , on its own without any added flavouring , would you say was the tastiest? Probably a waxworm, because they're quite fatty. Most of the ones I've tried have been flavoured. The waxworm ones taste kind of porky like crackling or scratchings. So the possibility of Halal pork ? as not carniverous it may well be. If you start keeping a lot of creatures together then its conducive to disease, is there a mealworm equivalent of mealworm measles or mumps or something? According to the experts in insect pathogens , yes you can get insect diseases . They say they don't transfer to humans most of the time. That is something that needs a lot more research. When people have had problems it has been due to mold or too much humidity and then throw the batch away. Could there be a potato blight like problem if we come to rely ... ?. Yes. A few farms starting to breed crickets in the USA , one had a problem further north and it did move further south . He did not want his stock to be affected so he got rid of his clothes , stayed away from home for a few weeks, to make sure it did not affect his insect farm. 2 or 3 of the big farms had to close down because they lost they're entire stock, it does happen. When you're talking about the protein levels , of different insects is that including the kytin outer layer . It strikes me that would be where most of the protein would be, for mealworms . ? The crunchy bits, for the mealworms you eat the whole thing, no wastage. So with things like the flour , that grinds up legs,antenas etc ? As far as I know they don't get rid of any parts. In a stir fry you would remove the wings and legs off a cricket just because they are harder to digest . Is kytin a digestible protein for humans? Thats something I could look up , I assume so , but I'm not sure. The human digestion system still needs undigestible bulk to it , to work against, so having that even if undigestable, can still be healthy. None of us get the right amount of fibre in our diets? Yes, valid. You mentioned you were expecting some sort of legal clarification over what is permissible. What level is that legislation coming from ? any idea what it might say? Its the EU . Its something the UN has been pushing for legislation . I don't know how detailed it would be , I',m no good at understanding law stuff . Something will happen but I don't know what. Can the cricket flour be used for the same usual culinary uses.? I've not researched whether it has the same power to bind things as in baking or pancake . THe Next Millenium people could answer that. I know if you are making cakes you can replace half of the flour with mealworm or cricket flour and dioesn't change the rising noticeably. If 100% then it maybe too rich. How did you cook the ones we were trying? I get them alive via the post , I have to freeze them, then I boil them to definitely make sure they are dead and any bacteria, dry them off and then oven bake for about 8 minuites. The plain ones are just baked. Soya ones , sometimes marinaded first or just add soya sauce before baking. Very simple process. Have they ever tried growing these on the International Space Station? Its seems a good way of creating protein for any Mars trip? Its something they're thinking about, if not tried. Perhaps a BBC article about breeding insects in space. It would be fresh ,a bonus Are these insects high in fat? as being undesirable? It depends . If you wanted a high fat diet then you'd choose the waxworms, perhaps an area where you could not get fatty acids or fats. Or eat only a proportion of them. For the food of bearded dragons they reserve waxworms as a treat for them When are they killed off , the freezing or the boiling? The freezing , as long as for long enough. I did it once, freezing for only a few minutes and they came alive again. Put them in a fridge, then freezer and then boil them. Its a bit disturbing tipping these mealworms up in there box and they appear to be moving in the corner, they are all dead? Yes definitely. Is there anything you won't eat? I don't think I'd eat a centipede . Too many legs? Not that , they seem too agressive. Millipedes I wouldn't because I like them and they'd be too crunchy. I don't lioke silkworms , a lot of people don't like the texture of silk worms , squishy , tasteless . They're a byproduct of silfarming. Anyone making a tofu type product? Entome? design students made these sushi square things , made of insects , look nice. I've not tried them as they are very expensive in their popup shop. They look appealing and I don't think people will care they have insects in and I think they'll do well. I'm personally planning on doing things like burgers , meat-balls , sausage rolls, spring rolls , that kind of thing. Where people can't see the insect, then not so offputting. I'm aware in the medical world , one farm at least, in Wales, producing maggots for skin infection treatments . There the farm has to be 3 miles away from the nearest habitation because they use ragmeat and it smells disgusting. What are the input foodstuffs that these insects use? Farmers will use the cheapest of sources possible, ahah another use for ragmeat which is the disgusting bits hosed out of abattoirs? That a good example of what I was talking about with waste-streams. People could use that, obviously well away from people but could be used to feed soldier fly larvae . Mealworm will eat bran and oats, crickets wil eat anything leftover meat fruit , but most of the time potato . If you don't look after them , I've done a few times, giving them fruit that is starting to go off , then mold and difficult to clear out . I usually give them something with some water in , like potato , but not too much that it easily molds. Then you get the ammonia issue if you are not ventilating properly. As far as low water coinsumption., low already, but can you use contaminated water or saline water . I wouldn't go with saline . I'm sure people would be researching into using contaminated water . Water not potable by humans, but not industrial effluent type contamination? One thing I'm interested in doing is taking some products, insects that have been fed on different things, waste water, manure , anything you can think of and getting them tested a lab to see if its safe as far as disease, bacteria or anything like that. Probably will be a bio-medical science student and cost a lot of money. Something I'd like to see happening Has there been any consideration to farming non-native species , what happens if they get out, crop damage or other native species? No one touched on that at the conference I went to . I assume once people start farming them , non-native species, then they will have to have some kind of control procedures. Some places just have a moat outside. I'm not sure on the rules about that are. I believe in some insect houses they control them by using red lights. Humans can see in red light but insects can't, makes them reluctant to escape. A simple control measure would be all entrances being dark and only lit by red lights. Or metabolically hobbling them somehow by breeding them so they cannot survive outside human care? People often have crickets to feed their pet lizards. There is nothing on the boxes sayiong don't let them out into the environment, so presumably those ones are not native - something I'll look into. When considering this talk , I was wondering if I'd have to provide sick bags, because of eflux/reflux reaction perhaps. The notion of eating something yucky might set them off. Considering the psychiology, do you find that at all? Certainly not here tonight. Some people say yuck that's disgusting but no one being sick at the thought. There is a Paul Rosen in America and he does psychological research into digust and I'll try getting a copy of his talk fromn the conference . He was looking into how to get people into eating insects to avoid that disgust . Start when you're young , children who have not seen adults being disgusted , then they are not disgusted themselves. You can buy mealworms for bird food , is that cooked? would they be ok for human consumption? They've been dehydrated. I know people with pet rats and they just eat them. You could perhaps try at home but contact the supply company and ask what they've been fed on. Isn't there a problem with the peanuts sold for bird food that they are from a source where they may have a toxin that is poisonous to humans but not birds. Would the same apply? In most cases you will find that the way they have been handled is quite hygenic but best not to take the risk. Another case for the microbiologists I think the mealworms for birds are alive . Everything you have shown has been in the larval stage I think. Why do you eat crickets as the insect and not as the grub stage. ? I've not bred them myself but I think they start as tiny eggs and no larval stage. With crickets and locusts they are eaten before final adulthood as then they grow wings and the exoskeleton hardens, so younger ones only. What do fishermen use, I've heard them described as mealworm but they look nothing like the ones here. / They might use fly larvae , maggots . There ar edifferent species of mealworms, there are giant ones . At the moment you are not allowed to sell insects for cattle feed but it is ok for aquaculture , can feed fish with insects . Some find it irritating that they are not allowed to feed chickens with they're natural food which is insects. Would this make meat healthier. Currently we feed animals on quite a high carbohydrate diet which predisposes them to be fatty . Perhaps a high protein diet for cattle and chicken would make them leaner ? Perhaps but I always thought the reason for feeding them particular things was to make them fatty . With all these ideas floating around I would like to be in a colaboration with different people , biologists, engineers , nutritionists and each would be an expert in those different areas. All these things to investigate.

Monday, 14 July, Prof Bill Keevil, Copper for antimicrobial hygenic surfaces. 31 people, 1.5 hours (first 10 minutes missing - memorable statistic of a Jumbo jet load of people per day in the USA die of hospital acquired infections) ... they think it probably costs 80 billion dollars to treat health-care acquired infection, around the world . A lot of people being infected but also huge sums of money. So in the USA and India but also in the UK. Our infection rate is 9 percent, which is higher than america. That means that nearly 1 in 10 people going into a hospital in the UK will get an infection. About 300,000 people a year in the UK and of those , cionservatively , at least 5,000 will die. Possibly higher but people dispute the stats on that. In the news , with Cameron and antimicrobial resistance, we don;'t have the antibiotics now. Dame Sally Davis, chief medical officer gone public saying the same thing. Now the Longitude prize just been announced, into antimicrobial resistance. Perceived to be the number 1 threat to our civilisation right now, because we're loosing the fight. So when you acquire an inferction in hospital the bugs will be resistant to at least 1 drug and frequently its many drugs. It costs our society at least 1 bbillion pounds a year. 80 % of infections are spread by touch, not coughing and sneezing. ( a member of the audience touching her face) Everyone does it , we lean against our chins etc. You can touch a surface , you may just have washed your hands , but touch the surface and you immediately pick up something from that surface and then you do face touching all day , transfering to your mouth and nose. For influenza , for example, its not coughs and sneezes directly , its indirectly , as the coughs and sneezes land on surfaces that you then touch. What is worse, is that you then touch other surfaces. Studies have shown that you can touch 7 other surfaces with the one infected hand, passing the flu on to 7 other surfaces. The estimates are at least 15% of these infections could be stopped if there were good infection control measures. According to the WHO are good hand hygene , cleaning, deep cleaningetc. Imagine the scenario of cleaning staff going in at 8 o'clock in the morning and clean, by lunchh time , how many people have walked through that area , how many have touched those surfaces. Unless they've used disinction agents with a long lifetime on the surface they will not work. The cleaning straff cannot go round 6 or 10 times a day cleaning, physically impossible and horrendous cost. Hospitals are very difficult to keep clean even with the best of intent. We have to talk about mcrobes, in every orifice of our body , in fact 90% of our body are bacteria , 10 times more bacteria than there are human cells, so we are effictively a blob of bacteria. Obviously in your gut and colon but also on your skin. Some examples of bacteria on your skin. Normally those bugs are friendly and in fact keep infections away. But pathogens can come in and cause a real problem . We shed 2 million skin cells evey hour and on those cels you have bacteria . So right now you are shedding skin cells into the environment. On a bright sunny day you can see the particles i nthe air , many are people's skin cells. They float around in the air , then fall onto surfaces , then others pick them up. Someone with excma or soriasis , a skin infection , shedding cells onto surfaces, then you are touching those surfaces . Humans are very tactile , on average we touch about 30 objects a minute. 80% of infections are transfered by touch. So a huge problem we have as a society . We're not particularly hygrnic and we touch lots of things. In hospitals people will touch door handles , on the way in and push plates on the way out. Its probable these hand contact surfaces are the major source of infection in a hospital. So you need good hand hygene . they advocate alcohol based rubs for example. Alcohol doesn't kill norovirus , nor C-dif because that forms spores and in fact the best thing you can use is good old soap and water. But difficult to have wash basins all over a hospital. So easir to have hand rubs. In some countries they can't use alcohol based rubs as people steal them to drink. You would imagine doctors and nurses know all about this hygene and infection problem and would practise good hygene. Some of them do , some don't. Various studies around the world . Complianc eof nurses, keeping them clean during the day is between 50 and 60% . For doctors it is between 30 and 40 % . It gets worse in intensive care and the reason there is the staff are run off their feet, working all the time . We help move pathogens around as we cough and sneeze . 10s of millions of particles in one cough , so if a person with a respiratory tract infection , shifts millions of bacteria that will land somewhere and then you'll touch them. Why do toilets have lids? If you flush a toilet with the lid up then you have aerosols coming on so as bad as a cough or a sneeze, so always put the lid down before flushing. A few numbers. What is the safe level of bugs on a surface. The calculated figure is about 250 bacteria per hundred square cms, 10x10 cms. Or 2.5 bacteria per cm square which is almost nothing. When you do microbiology in a hospital , here are some typical numbers. Bed sheets 4,500 on the sheets, 17,000 on the bed rails . Between 3,000 and 9,000 on bedside equipment and we should be looking at 250 so way over. Wherever you look in that unit , actually intensive care unit , but similar on standard wards . The closer you get to the bed, the higher the numbewrs. We've had wondreful new materials come into our society , like stainless steel . It looks to the eye a polished surface . Under the microscope , there are draw-marks and scratches . To the bacteria its like large valleys . Despite professionally cleaning of that surface , they remove the bacteria(B) from the proud surfaces but untouched B in the valleys. So that surface is not clean, not sterile unless you use a really good cleanser you will not kill those B. Stainless steel came into use because it doesn't corrode and believed easy to clean. Actually its not easy to clean. People touch such surfaces and move them on to the next surface. When we started our work on copper surfaces , we realised copper was quite a good thing. So ward trials. We saw the bedside levels of B were very high. The copper industry have been designing and fabricating a whole range of materials to go alongside a bed. So bedrails made of brass , bed-end , over-bed table , visitors chair with brass handles , a computer with the touch pad area is a copper alloy and a copper mouse . A hospital has a lot of gadgets and computers. Then the stands with the blood bags etc. All now being made out of copper alloys and put into ward environments. Summarizing a lot of work . Looking at 16 rooms at 3 hospitals over a 21 month period, something like 1,000 beds in the study. There is more than 90% reduction in B levels when such copper items are added to the ward environment, just by doing that. Al lthe othe r cleaning procedures remained exactly the same. People say , isn'nt the study biased because the staff see that you've changed things. People rapidly adjust and they go back to their standard practises. So in just a matter of a few days , people were cleaning in exactly the same ways as they had before the trial. In one of the hospitals they actually switched over so they had one ward without copper , one with Cu and 6 months in swapped around. To normalise , to make sure of no bias. And there wa sno bias. In every environment where there was a Cu alloy , when they sampled the surfaces, for number of live B , they found at least a 90% reduction. Studies in Birmingham , Hamberg, Athens , Limpopo in South Africa ., Tokyo, Beijing, Melborne , Santiago chile, LA and Charleston and NY and all reporting similar results, so no bias. The hospitals in Charlston and NY, 3 of them , they then looked at infection rates . OK we think the surfaces are cleaner but can we see a reduction in infection and they did. They reported in peer-reviewed journal, a 58% reduction in infecxtion rate. This caused huge controversy. There ar e alot of clinicians who did not want to believe this . The WHO have been promoting good hand hygene , saying thats all you have to do, well its not all, its the surfaces themselves that need control as well. Since then other trials have been proceeding , not just hospitals , but also public transport . So going back to what our society had 70 years ago . Why is Cu so good. It comes down to chemistry. The periodic table , lined up in columns and rows. Cu is with silver and gold in the same column and shares similar properties except its more reactive. There is a single free electron i nthe outer shell. That makes it very reactive so it participates in redox reactions. So Cu1 easily becomes Cu2 and can go back to Cu1. Compared to silver. We've been comparing stainless steel , plastics , microban sold by Sainsburys a plastic cutting board which contained biocide against a range of alloys. 100% Cu , brass 80% Cu 20% zinc, bronze, copper-nickel , and some very modern materials that the industry have been developing. Ran them and against controls such as pure Nickel, pure zinc and also silver. We've been looking at water-borne pathogens like Legionaire's Disease, the Legionella B associated with shower heads and cooling towers. It lives in biofilms in drinking water and will live happily on plastic pipes and iron pipes but does not like copper. E-Coli-157 , the burger bug, but there have been water-borne outbreaks where people have drunk tap water containing 157 . In Canada 2,000 people were affected in one instance. Again very low numbers with copper pipes. We've looked at food-borne B , 157 again, Listeria , the pate bug. Food often gets contaminated from cross-contamination eg John Barrs butchers in Wishaw Edinburgh about 10 years ago. A big outbreak of 157 and 30 Scots were infected and some died. He was making meat pies but his utensils were also being used on raw beef. I will mostly concentrate tonight on hospital aquired pathogens. The superbugs, MRSA Methycilin Resistant Staphlocucus Aurius . Methycilin is an antibiotic that its resistant to , but in reality the M should stand for Multiple becaiuse MRSA is resistant to most of the antibiotics out there. Another one VRE Vancomicin Resistant Entococi also a big problem in hospitals, similar to MRSA. C-dificil forms spores , very serious for old people . Modern ones like Gulf War bug asanitabacta , soldiers returning brought it back with them, they go into hospital and then transmit that bug . In Birmingham 2 soldiers returned from the Gulf and 90 people were infected via the Intensive Care and several died. Clebsopneumonii ? that produces an antibiotic resistant enzyme , penicilinase . Then viruses , influenza. Each year 30,000 people in the UK die of it, transmitted by touch. Norovirus doesn't kill most people , winter vomiting syndrome , the number 1 issue for the cruise industry, because highly infectious and difficult to kill and spread by touch. Fungi , candida , aspergilis farmer's lung associated with air conditioning systems . AC systems are now made out of steel and aluminium but many years ago were made out of copper alloys . Sick building syndrome from contaminated air , is it because we are using the wrong materials . Copper is killing all these pathogens. A couple of examples MRSA , in this test simulating a cough or a sneeze . Wet droplets falling onto a surface . We take a small amout of a MRSA culture , 20uLitres , 1/50 mL , and place on a surface. In that about 10million B, and then we compare stainless-steel with copper. Graphed over time in minutes. Within about 45 mins all 10million of thos eMRSA have been killed. Repeat on brass or other alloys of copper they are also killed but it takes longer because a lower concentration of copper . Some are only 60 or 70 % Cu. Put them on SS , that plot runs for days or weeks. So the bugs will survive in a dry state on a touch surface , it you don't clean them they will survive happily on there. Now silver, often stated as anti-microbial, eg Smith and Nephew sell wound dressings impregnated with silver . With chemist shop maerosol deoderants , the contents often list nano-silver . Generally if people think of an antimicrobial metal they mostly think of slver. Ironically silver does not work when its dry , only works when wet. So silver in a wound dressing applied to a wet wound it would work. But for touch surfaces it doesn't work at all. Some B can become dormant , they respond to an environmental stress and switch off. You may think you've killed them but in fact you haven't. So we have to go on and do other tests to confirm it. Looking to see if MRSA is alive or dead. A SS surface with draw/scratch marks . and a copper surface . If we add a flourescent molecule , in this case CTC . In its normal form it doesn't flouresce , its colourless. If B are alive and respire and pass electrons it floureses red. So if we see red bugs on a surface, we know they are alive and breathing. No red bugs, means they've stopped breathing and are dead. Some on the SS but you cannot see any red on the copper. Another stain cyto-9 , binds to the DNA . If cells have DNA the cyto-9 will bind to it and flouresce a bright green. So VRE and SS after 4 hours , brightly stained green so hav eDNA and also flourescing red so respiring . For copper in comparison 10 minutes , even faster than the MRSA experiments previously . In just 10 minutes . Using a smaller inoculum of 1uL to simulate a dry hand . Unless really sweaty hands you will not put much moisture onto the surface. Its very rapid, killed 1million B in a few minutes. They cant be cultured, they're not breathing and have destroyed their DNA . Destroying the DNA is really important . We talk about antibiotic resistance , one of the reasons they become reistant ithat they mutate . The targets they antibiotics go for is no longer recognised . If there is no DNA then there is no DNA to mutate so the perfect solution . So that means we can safely use copper for the next hundreds of years and resistance will not become a problem. We can measure the charge across a cell . Think of a balloon full of air , the skin is entire and can measure a charge across. If the charge collapses then that tells you there are holes in the skin. the balloon has burst effectively. Using another green dye, this time rhodamine-123 . VRE again, MRSA and gram-negatives ? 357 and salmonella. On copper the burger bug and salmonella no longer take up the green stain . THe MRSA and VRE still take up the green stain . That tells us there are different kill mechanisms . The way copper kills the e-coli and salmonella which we call gram-negative B , are different from the MRSA and VRE which are gram-positive , different cell walls. Copper only punches holes in the gram-negative B , not the gram-positive. Compare to SS the ecoli and salmonell keep that electrical charge , intact membranes, and with brass a halfway house , they loose the electrical charge but it takes longer than pure copper. Lots of tricks like that. With the DNA breakdown , you can see how fast it is by using the dry-touch protocol. Column A is copper , B is brass and C is SS and looking at whether the DNA breaks down using the green stain. SS lots of brightly stained B so they've kept their DNA , after 10 mintes. On the copper even within 30 seconds most of them have lost their DNA , thats how fast it is on a copper surface. As soon as they touch the surface, they are starting to die,. Brass is half way, between 2 and 5 minutes for the same degree of DNA destruction. The press picks up on this sort of thing and Daily Mirror in March 2014 . Super-bug kills 17 people and 100s infected in Manchester. .... Carbopenamase , penicilin dicovered by Fleming in 1923 , and its chemistry. When they became resistant they were able to break 1 or 2 of the rings in the penicilin molecule. So the second generation Kephalosporins , ring structures of 4 and 5 and 6 and different side chains , so the B couldn't attack this for a few years, then they murtated and got resistance. So many of the MRSA strains are resistant to that class of antibiotic. We now have the third generation , the antibiotics of last resort, the carbopenims . Agai na ring structure like the penicilins but ifferent side chains. Clebsomelipneumonii carbopenamase an enzyme that does the job of attacking the ring and with water , breaks the chains , hydrolysis breaking th echain open . The antibiotic is no longer functional. We have poor prescripotion adherence. We use antibiotics in agriculture which we shouldn't be doing If we go back in evolution for several billion years , fungi in the environment. Fungi produce antibiotics , Fleming's discovery was a fungal contamination on the agar that was killing the B. That fungus had been producing that stuff for hundreds of millions of years. There has been a war going on B have been fighting fungi for 100s of millions of years. We are late to the war and see fungi produce antibiotics , we can use that. But it was only ever going to be a limited war has there has been many generations to get that resistiance . We have made it worse by treating people with antibiotics when they have a virus and animals given antibiotics to improve their health and growth rate. This antibiotic war we'd lost before we'd started. If you go into hospital the risk of infection is high. I know 2 people in the last year , and died of MRSA. They went in for a normal operation , both got MRSA and both almost died. They are having to go back to antibiotics that have not been used for 20 or 30 years. They were not being used because they were deemed to be toxic. One is called collistin ? . Treating you with that does not make you feel very good but its better than dying of MRSA. So we have to go all out for new antibiotics and quick or go for completely new strategies. Or our society will go backwards 100 years. Now NDM1 , New Delhi Metaloprotease , the enzyme is a carbopenamase and this class was isolated from a patient from Delhio who went back to Sweden and he had a completely new infection. NDM1 has only been around for the past 6 or 7 years being recognised. Already they reckon 40 % of the populatiopn of India and Pakistan carry this . Its that easy for this thing to spread. With modern jet travel, India and back in 12 hours. It does not take long to spread these things. The good news is we can apply the NDM to a copper surface and using the dry touch model , we can kill the lot in 5 minutes . If we use alloys of copper , then 10 minutes or so. So there is hope. Copper not only kills bugs and stops them breathing but also stops them having sex. A B with a sex pilus which joins it to another B and it moves its DNA across, bacterial sex. The conjugation frequency . On SS the frequency is ? and thats after 2 hours. If we put them in suspension in a nutrient medium ..??? but if we put them on copper, there is a gap , there is no transfer at all. Its stopped any gene transfer between the two. Another antibiotic called CTX again destroys the carbopenums , again looking at the frequencies , good transfer . Put them on copper and this thing is moving so fast , that as soon as placing on the copper, they are moiving their DNA , literally as they touch the surface. Then copper gets to grips with them in the first couple of minutes and stops it dead. You could be having a holiday in the far east and be touching surfaces there , fly home without washing your hands and think of the number of surfaces you touch here, the escalators, stairs . Someone else flys in within 5 hours or so and as from a differnt continent , say South America,and they may not wash their hands either. They come into Heathrow and touch the surfaces. So you have Asian and South American bugs being mixed onto a surface and we've seen how DNA can transfer. That is one way to create superbugs, as easy and as rapid as that. We live in the modern jet age and its part of the reason for the spread of superbugs . Travel is cheap and fast . Back to chemistry. Fenton reaction , where you take Hydrogen Peroxide , hair bleach, and mix that with iron salts , you generate reactive oxygen species. Very reactive racdicals such as hydroxil and we can get a Fenton Cycle. Copper is 70 times faster in a Fenton reaction. What we think is going on copper surfaces. If we think we re generating these highly reactive oxygen species then you can test fo rthat by quenching them . Add an agent to stop them producing the reactive species . We can use such as EDTA ? copperII ions , copperI ions . copperI and copperII in this highly reactive redox recycling. We can also add moilecules such as tyron ? which quenches superoxide which is one of the reactive oxygen molecules. We can also add catalase which destroy peroxide . Lots of tricks we can do. Add them with B on copper and see what survives. Comparing B still alive after a few seconds with the B still alive after 10 minutes. The first graph bars are without any of these agents and no bugs have survived. With the protective agents , good protection of copperI and protection against hydrogen peroxide and superoxide. We can also look at hydroxil using a sugar called manitol. We can work out the biochemistry of this. Is this all fanciful thinking. We can use another flourescent molecule , long name. Putting on copper with asonitabacta , the gulf bug. Are they generating reactiv eoxygen species. This only flouresces green if there are reactive oxygen species there. The B lining up on the coipper surface and they are all flourescing green , so they are producing reactive oxygen species. If we were to kill the B and then put them on the copper, it would just look black. If we put the B on SS then we wouldn't see anything, as not producing active oxygen species. Good evidence that we can see what is going on , on a surface. We call this metabolic suicide. They are generating reactive oxygen to kill themselves and the reactive oxygen comes from their metabolism. How do we know the rates at which this is going on. A group in USA used anothe rflourescent molecule, called copper sensor, a molecule that only flourescxed if Cu was present. They loaded B with this and put them on to Cu. They looked again for the red flourescent B . At zero time some red stained B , after a minute using the wet test , like a sneezee or a cough , ... 3 hours , the Cu concentration , but its taking 3 hours. In the dry test , hand contact, it is just seconds. In 1 minute those B ... 100 million Cu atoms, 100,000 times the concentration of Cu, they've taken in that numbewr of Cu in the first few seconds. Cu floods . Imagine a boat with a few holes in it , you can try and bail but you've lost , the Cu has flooded in. So the B are swamped in Cu . That means you can't bail out quicker than the Cu goes in . We have the metabolic suicide , the B are producing small amounts of hydrogen peroxide in their normal metabolism. Its whart B do. The Fenton reaction CuI goes to CuII, the peroxide is converted too and the hydroxil radical which is reactrive destroys cell membranes , destroys DNA. That is inside the cell. So CuI and CuII can attack the B directly in the wet test. In the dry test we get rapid kill because they are generating reactive oxygen species. We get a direct attack of the Cu on the cell . Can punch holes in the cell membrane , destroy the DNA and mess up general cell metabolism. Its very effective. The future. Hospital trials continue. In the news recently, Amber Maccleary a year or 2 ago she had seen some of our material and her dog had an intractable condition. If copper door handles could help with infection rates . Coincidently some of her relatives ran a fabrics company . They made a dog basket abd throw impregnated with copper and the dog recovered. Then what really drew public attention was she said if it was ok for the dog , maybe humans could have copper fabrics and copper pyjamas . Their relatives company , now renamed Copper Clothing produce pyjamas with approx 40 percent copper . Then in the Mirror just before chrstmas 2013, had had a Caesarian Section and got MRSA and almost died. Treated her with everything they could think of and nothing was working. She was related to Amber . If all else has failed then why not try the copper pyjamas . She survived , the infected stomach area wounds that could not be treated by the clinicians healed, and she recovered from MRSA. It is very exciting but we have to remember 1 patient recovering is not proof. The medical fraternity says all very interesting , but. Amber's relatives company is about to start clinical trials at a hospital in Croydon . She contacted us and asked if we could do some experiments to see if the kill mechanism of fabrics was the same as we'd found before. Orange colour. Under the microscope at about x1000 and the fibres. The control fabric looks black ... We put our epidemic strain of MRSA on to the copper fabrics with nylon control. B surviiving well on the control over 24 hours , long enough to show an effect. The fabrics wer egettting a kill in a 24 hour timescale. The kill is initially very rapid and then slower. We looked at differnt fabrics with different concentrations of Cu. Under the microscope , stain the B with the DNA stain , so they flouresce green and look under the microscope. Some of the B are attached to each of the fibres in the fabric but it looks as though more are attaching to the control , without the Cu , because you don't see the green . At 24 hours there is almost no stained B adjascent to the controls. They are attaching to th eCu fibres ... and loosing the green stain. We then struggle to see any green near the Cu fibres because the Cu has destroyed the DNA. ... B are being attracted to the surface of the fibre and are stacking up , almost like fingers. Sticking to the surface by the copper. Video image of the B being attracted to th eCu surface just in the first few seconds. So building up a thick layer of B . I previously mentioned how the kill rate slowed off. We think it is due to the build up of B on the Cu surface. We are using high concentrations here, you would not expect that many in a standard environment. The contol of the bamboo viscose without nylon, shows a lack of attraction to those fibres, its not charged and the B are negatively charged. Like a moth attracted to a flame its attracted in and then gets burnt. An electrical attraction to start with . Florence Nightingale knew a long time ago that good hygene reduces deaths, for cholera dystentry etc, down from 42% to 2%. Hypocrates in ancient times used copper dressings to treat skin infections. And also in classical times warriors sharpening their swords and retaining the the grindings for adding to wound dressings. So we have to look back into istory to move foreward for our own survival in the future. The Cu industry jhave now registered over 400 Cu alloys with the US government and an antimocrobial claim . Deploying them in hospitals,transpot and public buildings around the world . Old buildings often have the original brass door handles and push plates and hand rails. I was at the Royal Society of Medicine last week , beautiful brass handles on the doors but a refurb inside and everything insiode was SS. I had a go at them , its a pity they could not have kept brass fittings throughout. The silver industry have never registered one . Amber's company and others producing Cu clothing . It was already known , we are just reinventing it. Are you all going to wash your hands more often. How often are hospital surfaces cleaned, perhaps once a day. Metro systems how often are the surfaces cleaned, perhaps once a week. Ladies are better than men at hand cleaning. In cities we are very good at spreading respiratory pathogens, faecal pathogens etc. A lot of our research money comes from the Copper Alliance, I unashamedly say so , we have to get our funds from somewhere. I hope I'm reporting to you without any bias Q&A managed to record in PAUSE mode , so no recording


 Euler formula
Monday, 11 Aug, Jim Anderson, Mathematical Sciences, University of Southampton: e to the i Pi plus 1 = 0 ; Euler's formula, the most beautiful formula in the world, involves 5 basic mathematical constants: e, i, pi, 1 and 0. In this talk, I'll describe why these constants are important and why having a simple formula relating them is a remarkable thing. I will avoid descending too deeply into the details and the talk will be accessible for the general audience. 33 people, 2 hours (As simple text, ^ in the below means raised to the power, * means times) The most beutiful formula in hte world. A topic which allows someone to go off at many different tangents. A lot of what I will be talking about will be touching on small parts of much larger things. This is the equation, mathematicians like to express things in equations . Pure mathematicians (Ms), of which I am one, we like to characterise things. To figure out relationships between things. I would like to explain why the fact this is so simple an equation is something of a miracle. I will drift away from what seems to be the main point of the talk and come back to tie things up at the end. The other way to express it is e to the i Pi = -1 , mathematically the same. People prefer the first one is because it involves 5 numbers that Ms and others , view as fundamental. e, i , Pi, 1 and 0. I will start with the pieces of this equation and then bring them together. First the supporting characters, then th emain characters . I want to explain why the main characters lead complicated lives in this story. Then the magic that occurs when we gather all the characters back . The supporting characters are the symbols + and = . If you go far enough back in time , Ms difd everything in words . All of M was one big story problem or word problem (the American form). It was all text and paragraphs . Text is a hard way to do M. Part due to we're not used to doing it , part is the notation we have developed over time, allows us to do M fluidly and easily. It allows us to do M without having to think too hard about the details of what we are doing. Something Ms are not very good at getting across. We try to set up a very formal structure, so we can manipulate things without worrying about what they mean. We set up an equation , we don't have to think too hard what the individual bit s mean. Or we can set up an equation, change the bits in the equation , like the bits that occur between the symbols. Perhaps replace them with more complicated objects and still get equations that are true. We can play abstraction games. Ms love to play abstraction games and we will get to a very specific abstraction game in the course of the talk. + am = symbols may be more recent or older than you thought. If you look at the history of M notation, a lot traces back to the early C17 , to a single person , Euler, a name that will come up a number ot times , here. Neithe r+ or = is due to Euler , unusually. Wikepedia is a good source of things M. We as a clan like to read things about M, and we don't like things to be wrong, we are seekers of truth, after all. + sign , from Wikipedia seems to havve been first used a Nicole Oresme probably C14 , he was probably abbreviating the word "et" of Latin, dropping the e and changing the t to a +. Which makes almost too much sense to possibly be true. Good enough story for me to tell but not good enough to attest that it is true. = seems to have been developed by Robert Recorde, whether 1557 paper where he brought the + and = sign to Brittain. Q about - of the alternative form of the equation I think the - sign is older but I don't know its history. Differently timed to the + sign. The main characters. The integres 0 and 1 , we have 2 real numbers Pi and e , two interesting special sorts of number , that turns out to be frighteningly common , then the imaginary number. I will spend some time talking about numbers and characterisations, representations and kinds of numbers because that is part of the magic that underlies this equation. The words that we Ms have developed to talk about these numbers. Real and imaginary in particular. One thing Ms are good at , is hijacking vocabulary. We are good at stealing the words you know and love , give them meanings that have absolutely nothing to do with their day to day meanings and then use them in a M day-to-day sense , which can lead to great confusion. Ms talking about something being normal , then run. It could mean almost anything. But Real and Imaginary mean almost what you think they mean in coloquial English. Two different ways at looking at flavours of numbers. How do we build numbers. From Ms point of view we start off with the number 0. We represent 0 with the empty set, the set that contains nothing and then we build numbers out of the empty set. So we can have the set that contains the empty set. The set that has one thing in it , even if it is the set that contsains nothing. Then we can build 2 as the set that contains 0 and 1. We can build up , building numbers from nothing. I like the fact that we build the positive integres out of nothing, we bootstrap out of nothing, we stick nothing inside of something and we get something and we go from nothing. The negative integres are very interesting. We think of integres as counting numbers, 1 apple, 2 apples, 3 oranges etc. One of the abstractions we run into , is how we define numbers where 2 orangs and 2 apples mean the same thing on both sides. Defining things formally becomes much more difficult. So we have to define what we mean by 2 , as opposed to 2 of something. How do we define a number when we are removing it from a collection of specific types of objects. Thats where this set theory approach comes from. How do you count -5 apples. I can start with 2 and try and take away 7 , but I ran into the practical problem that I can take away 2 but how do I take away any more. So defining what we mean by negative numbers is a whole new branch of this tree that is not really related to what we are doing here. Its a different abstraction on how we deal with number. Abstracting 2 from the concept of 2 of something is a very slippery idea. My pint of beer used to be 1 but now its getting close to 0, but I don't know what a negative one looks like. Once we have the integres, the whole numbers, what can we do with these. First is I can build the rational numbers. These are quotients of integres, eg 1/2 , -3/7 . Pay attention to the word rational. If you go back to the Pythagorians there is the story that they discovered that not all numbers are rational. But they wanted to keep this a secret because they wanted order in the universe. They wanted to be able to define all numbers in a nice simple rational way. But not all numbers are fractions. Many numbers are fractions. I can get as close as I want to any number with a fraction. Give me a number and some measure of closeness , I can find fractions that are as close to that number as I want. But they may not be that numbdr. Not all numbers are fractions is one of those , the world is more complicated than we thought, moments. For example the square root of 2. My previous talk here, I ended on the proof that the square root of 2 is not a rational number. There is a slidesworth of proof that root 2 is not expressable as 2 fractions of integres , no matter how hard you try. We cannot force our will upon Ms. We have to deal with the fact that sometimes the things we want to be true , just aren't. No amout of effort or argument , we can't make them true. How can I build all real numbers . If I start with the integres I can build the rational numbers. I can build all the rational numbers out of the real numbers. I can define a number by saying that all the rational numbers are on one side of it and all the rational numbers are on the other side of it. You can configure a number as 2 sets of rational numbers where the rational numbers of one set are on one side of something and all the rational numbers of the other set are on the other side of something . That something in between is the number . I can talk about the square root of 2 and I can make root 2 definite by looking at all the rational numbers bigger than root 2 and all the rational numbers less than root 2. Now a different way of describing numbers. The numbers that are not rational I will brak into 2 pieces. There is one set of numbers where I need a finite amount of information to decide what the number ios , for everything I need to know about the number. On the other side I have the numbers where I need an infinite amout of information to define them. Another slippery concept, what do I mean by information. A number I will call an algebraic number. There is some equation where my number i sa solution to that equation. The equation is a polynomial and all the coefficients , the numbers that appear in front of powers of x are integres. If my number is a solution to some polynomial = 0 , then I will say , that is a n algebraic number. I need a finite amount of information , the highest power in my polynomial, in this case a 4 and need to know what these coefficiemts are. I only need a finite set of numbers to define my number in amongst all possible numbers. The square root of 2 is an algebraic number. If I look at x^2 =2 , the square root of 2 is a solution of it. It is an algebraic number. We will soon see that i is also an algebraic number. So some real numbers are not fractions , determined by an integre as numerator and denominator. An algebraic number is determined by a finite set of integres, where i have the degree of the polynomial and the coefficients are all integres. Then I have a bunch of numbers, in fact, most numbers which are not algebraic numbers and we call those numbers transcendental numbers TN. Again we are using the term transcendental in almost a coloquial sense. Beyond our immediate knowledge. We need an infinite amount of information to specify a transcendental number, we can't express it in terms of any polynomial of any degree, so no equation we can write down that will tell us what that number is. Pi and e , 2 of our 5 main characters are transcendental numbers. Its hard to prove a number is T, because you have to prove a negative, something cannot be done. No polynomial with integre coefficients where Pi or e is a solution. So you have to describe TN in some other way. Often those ways don't allow you to do much with them,. Pi and e , in some sense, are very complicated numbers, not knowable in any finite sense. We need a vast amount of information. If I look at e to the Pi, it s also a TN, very slippery , hard to know. One way of thinking of a rational number is writing out its decimal expansion, 1/4 is .250000... with a 0 that just keeps repeating. Or I have finite number of non-zero things, everything past that point is zero. If I have 1.9 , I get .111111... with repeating 1s. Any rational number will haver a repeat, eventually, in its decimal expansion. It maybe a chunk repeating rather than just one numeral eg 1/7. With a repeating decimal I can construct a rational number out of it. That is one way of separating out the rational from the non-rational. Separating the algebraic , the nice irrational numbers from the non-nice irrational numbers is a question I'm not sure we know how to answer. If I hand you a decimal number that is not repeating , I can tell you its not a rational number but if I hand you a non repeating decimal expansion, I don't know if we have the technology to say whether that number has some algebraic form or if it does'nt. This split of numbers is very hard to see. All we can say is that there are some numbers we cannot express in this form. The old quastion of squaring the circle. If I hand you a circle of radius 1, can I construct a square where the area inside the square is the same as inside the circle. The answer is no. No, because basically Pi is not an algebraic number. There are consequences to this split, different sorts of non-rational numbers. Some of those are very geometric things . We have a degree of complication and Pi and e are the most complicated numbers that we have. The first part decimal expansions of e and Pi. The e of e stands for Euler . Logarithms, this year is the 400th anniversery of logarythms , John Napier. In 1614 he described the first formal way , logarithms. For each positive number, I have a different logarithm . So a log base 2 is closely related to how do I write my numbers to the base 2 . Log base 10 is closely related to how do I write a number to base 10. It turns out that the most useful logarithm , that arises in compound interest calculations etc, is numbers in powers of e. The problem is that e is an non-repeating decimal . Ask me the trillionth digit of e , the only way I can calculate it is to calculate the 999,999,999 digits and then calculate the trillionth. I don't have a way of figuring it out , which is sad but true. A picture of e , the graph of 1/x. So for each number, the height I go up to reach the curve is 1 over the number I plug in. The number e is, if I start at 1 , when is the area , under the curve, equal to 1 , is 1 when I hit e, about 2.7. The first 15 digits are not that hard to remember. The ancient Greeks knew Pi, they didn't know what it was exactly. Go back to Archimedes, he approximated it to 22/7 for everyday , back of envelope type calculations. Over the last couple hundred years we've come up with lots of ways of calculating Pi to as many digits as you want. One use for that is to test computer chip clock speeds. Pick an algorythm for calculating Pi and see how long it takes you , and use that as a measure of how fast your chip is. Look at the floor and the boards are a bunch of lines that are evenly spaced. If I took a needle that was shorter than the distance between 2 of those lines , flip it up and count the number of times it crossed a line , I would have a remarkably inefficient way of calculating Pi, the Buffon needle problem. When your bank calculates your mortgage, e is showing up in their calculations . So integral to a lot of what we do, but no one knows what it is. Everyone knows Pi. Take a circle of radius 1 , Pi is the area inside. Or 2Pi is the length of the circle. Ways of thinking about Pi. Pi is a round thing , every time you have something round you get a pi somewhere in the calculation. Even when doing calculations where things don't look round, pi will show up. It shows up everywhere, all the time in inexplicable ways. Sort of the unwelcome guest of maths. There is a different way of talking about numbers. Where do complex numbers come from, what do I mean by a complex number. Real numbers we can write down ,fractions , decimals repeating or not, positive or negative , all fine. Go back a few hundred years and there was something that annoyed Ms. Ms are detail oriented , we like order, we like structure, we like things to make sense. We like things to behave the same way all the time. 3 equations x^2 - 1= 0 I have 2 solutions to that equation , 2 values of x for which this equaton is true, 1 and -1, and the only 2 solutions. x^2 = 0 I have 1 solution which is x=0 . But in a sense 0 is a solution twice , the first x is 0 or the second x is 0, so 2 solutions but they happen to be the same solution . As I said we are prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to compel order on things. x^2 + 1 = 0 Has no real numbers that is a solution , no real number that when squared and add 1 to it , becomes 0. Whether positive or negative numbers, when squared , give a positive number. So no solutions. This annoyed us, this made us unhappy, this is not the way the universe should be. If the highest power I see in my equation is 2 , I should have 2 solutions in some way, even if I sort of cheat and say I have the same solution twice. We must have 2 , so we found a way of making 2 solutions to this. We introduced a number that we called i , the base imaginary number. i has the property , we define it by saying that i squared is -1 . So i^2 is -1 , add 1 to it and I get 0. i becomes a solution to this equation. It is not a real number, its outside the universe of real numbers as we know it. Way somewhere else, we plucked it out of nothing. We are declaring this to be a number which is a solution to our equation. If I have i as a solution then I have -i also as a solution. Al lof these 3 equations , of degree 2, all of a sudden , have 2 roots. One of the miracles of doing this , is that if I take any polynomial and I allow myself the same conceit , the higheset power in my equation is the number of solutions . When I introduce i into the mix with the more general numbers so I have numbers of the form x + i * y I define my arithmetic in terms of these numbers , there is an arithmetic of these numbers that makes perfect sense . You'll have to trust me on that , because I'm a professional. Once we introduce that, this property holds in general. Say a polynomial of degree 5 , all of a sudden it has 5 roots, might not be all real roots , but I have 5 roots. If I allow complex numbers to rerplace the integres in the polynomials the same thing holds. The dgree tells me how many roots I have. This s known as the fundamental theorem of algebra . Ms don't bandy the term fundamental around casually. When we say fundamental , we mean fundamental. Bedrock stuff, I won't say basic stuff or easy stuff. I introduce a number that is outside the universe of real numbers and I expand the context in which I do math. i , the imaginary, goes back to how people thought of it. People did not want to consider these numbers as existing in any way. They were a technical artifice, a cheat , a conceit . A way of making the universe a reasonable place but not by declaring that these things actually existed, they were abstract , imaginary, not real. The word was used very explicitly for that purpose It turns out you cannot do physics or engineering or most things without imaginary numbers. The universe is a complex place ,truly, because you have to have complex numbers to describe it. Things like Schrodingers Equation that describes atoms involve an i. Fluid flow involves complex numbers, its everywhere. Once you introduce it, you realise you have to have it , ion order to make sense of things. Although it was introduced as an artificial way to impose some order on the world, it turns out actually to be useful. i turns up as one of our main characters. We now need to link them togethewr. We have e and pi our incredibly complicated real numbers , 1 and 0 are relatively straightforward integre real numbers and we have i which is a number we plucked out of the sky. Now exponentiation. The last ingredient of our witches' brew for the evening. It involves e to the i pi and I need to tell you what that means, because thats the magic , the moment we write that down is really the magic. Taking powers of things, indices perhaps rather than exponents. e^2 I just take 2 copies of e and multip[ly together. e^3 I take 3 copies and multiply together. With a positive integre power , I know exactly what to do. I can define what e to a negative integre means , but we don't need it here. How do I deal with e^2.5 , I cannot take 2 and a half copies of e and multiply together as I don't quite know what that means. I cannot make easy sense of e^e . I could define e^2.5 as interpolating between e^2 and e^3 and interpolate in a particular way by crreating a function. Plug in a y and I get out e^y and I want it to agree with when I plug in a positive integre. I won't say how I do that, but effectively I'll create an infinite polynomial in powers of y to tell me what e^y is. Thats one way of doing it. I could talk about that for an hour , don't think that would be an hour well spent. Lets say there is a way of interpolating between e^2 and e^3 in a well defined way. We know what we are doing there and we can make sense of things. I can make enough sense of things and with enough time I could convince you that I could make sense of things. For different exponents , 2 to a power, e to a power, this is something that logarithms allow us to do. This is why logs were developed , a calculatoty tool to allow me to do exponentials in a way that did not require me do do exponentials. People were calculating by hand . Doing non-integre exponents by hand are very tricky because I have an infinite polynomial and I need another way of doing it. They created tables of logs and then able to relate everything back to those . My year at high school was the first year that did not get to use a slide rule, the first year to use calculators. I may be a worse M for it. So exponentiation using an integre I know what to do , using a real number I know what to do. But what do I do if its not a real number. We get to Euler . e to a real number is complicated , I need an infinite polynomial to figure out what I'm doing, its a non trivial thing to do, its hard. Euler told us that if we stick an i in , life becomes in one sense much simpler and in anothe rsense, more complicated. If I have e and a real number y and multiply it by i so making a sort of half of a complex number and I raise e to that power I have a way of expressing that differently, involving cosine and sine. Whether a good or bad thing now, depends on your relationship with cosine and sine, our basic trignometric functions. We have tables of values of these. Educated people who were csaptured i nbattle were often made a slave to do things like calculate tables of logs, cosines and sines. For hundreds of years , give me a number , I could look up cosine of that number . If I don't have that one in my tables , I have a procedure for interpolating . From a practical point of view this is not a problem to calculate. So Euler related a hard thing to an easy thing. e to the i times a real number is an easy thing to do because its just another real number that comes out of trig. Picture a circle and y as being how far around the circle , cosine y and sine y are just the co-ordinates of the point on the circle. So Euler's formula e^(i*y) = cos(y) + i* sin (y) has a very pictorial representation . If I go y around the circle , so go Pi/4 or 45 degrees and e^ (i * pi / 4) then the cos of pi/4 and sin of pi/4 are the coordinates of that point. i is telling me vertical and the non-i part of my complex number is telling me the horizontal. I can locate myself on this circle if I have Euler's formula. This is the magic . To prove Euler's formula there is the slick way that I like which is a bit of a cheat but it works. We can express e to the y as an infinite polynomial in y and if I blindly stick in ? , and do that same infinite polynomial and do some algebraic massage , about half a blackboard to fill what I get are representations for the infinite polynomials giving me cosine and sine broken up in this way. This is what makes Ms happy . Where an argument we used i na simple case , blindly applied to a more complicated case and it still works. This is the sort of thing we spend our days looking for. Can I reduce the really complicated thing to something we taught our undergrads. For that we get points. e to the pi is a TN , there is no simple relationship for e^pi. But if I stick an i in, the thing we introduced to make Ms lives nice, and I look at Euler's formula and I just get a -1, or e^(i*pi) + 1 = 0 By the addition of this i we've moved from a hard number , by sticking an i in the right place, we've made a number that is incredibly easy to handle. Q&A You made a good point about TNs , in terms of the information to define them. And clearly numbers like e +1 and so on are T, its also clear that e^i *Pi is not T . What can you do to a TN to make it algebraic ? If you add 2 Ts can you get an algebraic, if no or not always ? There are a lot of questions that Ms are working hard on , which involve the relationship between addition and multiplication. They don't behave well with respect to one another. And as algebraic numbers are defined in terms of both it becomes complicated. If I take the TN e , and I add the TN -e, I get a rational number. If I take TN e and I add TN -e plus any algebraic number I get an algebraic number. Knowing that 2 numbers are T , and knowing only that tells me nothing about what happens when I add them together , or multiply them or when I take one of them to the other power. Because weird things happen sometimes. Off hand I don't know. That gets us into some hard areas of analytic number theory. All I know that determining a number is TN tends to be hard. You have to know a lot about the number to be able to say whether it is or is not a TN. Numbers lioke pi and e have very clear definitions , related to other things and can bring more into the discussion othe rthan just I have this number is it a TN. n a clear valid probabalistic sense. if a pick a random real number if it makes any sort of sense then it will be TN. Effectively all number are TN, but knowing that in some probabalistic sense doesn't mean taking 2 of them and adding together gives me anothe rTN. I thought I was keeping up until you got to the last line. i Sin (y) , I tend to think of cosine some real number and sine real number as real numbers and I think along the line that real + i real being on a cartesian plane and that freaks me out , by adding an i which I can't really add because its off in another direction comes up with something so nice as -1 ? The trick there is the sin ( Pi) = 0 , that term just disappears. The term involving the i is just disappearing . When we are using sine and cosine , we are not using degrees but radians. 360 degrees gives me a whole circle , 2*pi radians gives me a whole circle. So pi radians takes me half way around the circle, so e ^ i*pi is really cosine of 180 degrees plus i sine 180 , the sine bit disappears and the cosine of 180 is -1. Does it plot nicely? You go around in a circle. e to the i y where y is real , you are going around a circle. y from 0 to 2*pi you go round once and 2*pi to 4* pi you go around again. If you l;ook at e^ (x + i*y) then it gets more complicated because you are plugging in 2 numbers and getting out , in effect , 2 numbers , a graph in 4 dimensional space and my head explodes. As an engineer I used i or j a lot but the thing that always mystified me is that there must be an infinity of imaginary numbers but only the i is used. i is all we need to specify the rest of them. Ms like to be efficient , how much new do we need to add to do everything . So for complex numbers, once I have an i , I can look at numbers as x + i*y and I get all numbers, all complex numbers. I could have chosen different ways of doing it that would have been less aesthetically pleasing. But Ms like to view themselves as sculptors or painters or poets , we ar enot just greating beauty but creating beauty in an efficient way. we don't want to make complicated constructionsd , as simple as possible. Sometimes making things simple is complicated in itself because you have to bury a lot of things. When you bury things , you bury reasons why people should believe they are true. I suppose I'm saying is there another branch of maths that uses something else that is not tangible, something else that doesn't exist? We understand the real numbers and add and subtract . Then the complex numbers . If we want to have numbers having basic properties that we like numbers to have then the next step up are what are known as quaternions . So I have an i , where i^2 is -1 , I have a j where j^2 is -1 and I have a k where k^2 is also -1 where i, j and k are related by saying i * j = k , then I have numbers that are real number + i * second real number + j * third real number + k * fourth real number and I build these complicated quaterionic numbers out of 4 real numbers and we run into a basic problem. A rule we like to have is that order of multiplication doesn't matter , fails for the quaternions, and the order of multiplication starts to matter. that a * b is differnt to b * a. But some people are happy with that sort of complication. There is one step beyond that , known as the khali ? plane which is where in order to specify a number you need 16 real numbers put together in acomplicated way and basically every rule of arithmetic you like to hold true, fails. And there are still people who like to calculate there. I tend not to hang out with such people, they tend not to be much fun at parties. But if you expand your definition of number you can do all sorts of things. Most people stop at the complex numbers because they obey the same rles as the real numbers. Beyond that it depends how much pain you want to inflict on yourself. i and j are very useful in engineering etc, is that branch of maths you just referred to , is that useful in the outside world? Not yet. I don't know of a single practical application of the khali plane in the real world. But I'm the wrong person to ask because I'm a pure M. I inhabit the world of a M pi and e are irrational and also TN , which is different? T is a subset of irrational . A number is irrational, there are 2 places it can go, one is T and the othe r is algebraic. Every irrational number is either T or algebraic. They are just numbers, just difficult to get a nice handle on as difficult to focus in on them. And obviously an infinite numbewr of TN, its jusdt these 2 happen to be particulrly useful becaus ethey crop up in practical situations? Yes Are there any other numbers particularly useful like that? It depends on your definition of useful. Given that its hard to prove a number is T, ther e are lot of M constants that are not integres and we don't know whether they're irrational numbers or TN . If you wanted to do something perverse , I could define a number that was rational but where in the finite universe I wouldn't be able to calculate enough digits , to know whether it is rational. If I have a repeating decimal I can tell. But it may start repeating beyond what I've allowed for. What we need are alternate descriptions of the number that don't involve writing down a decimal expansion. All we can say is a number is not rational yet, as we don't yet see a repeating pattern. Infinity is a big thing in a small finite universe. How is it that you know that e and Pi don't repeat? but others you say might repeat but we don't know. ? People constructed arguments to show that pi and e were not rational, were not algebraic, were sufficiently complicated so they could only be a TN. The proofs are such that an undergrad , at the end of 3 years should be able to follow , so they're not straightforward . 150 years ago people were making their name prooving that pi was irrational and TN. Those people still have their names attached to the fact that e and pi are T. Because they were hard facts to acquire . Attention was focused on those numbers because of their uses elsewhere. There are other constants, some associated with Euler and we know nothing about them. We know 15 or 20 of their decimal expansions. We don't even have a ghost of an argument as why they may or may not be rational. You would like to think that if you calculated a million digits and no repeating , maybe its irrational but we have no way of knowing. There might be a way of finding out , if it proved to be a particularly useful constant, then effort would be brought to bear upon it? A thing about pi is people have been trying to approximate it by a rational number for thousands of years. Knowing that e or pi is irrational doesn't do much o na day to day basis. You have things like Plankh's constant , I don't think physicists care whether that constant ir rational or whatever. They do'nt use enough of it to be bothered. Get to 10 digits and that is all you need to know, don't worry after that. You don't need to know pi to a great many digits to do whatever you need to do with pi for anything useful. It comes back to the nature of Ms, give them a question and they work to an answer, sometimes for years or decades and then some other guy publishes it first . Is any of these numbers useful in cryptography or is that just prime numbers.? Cryptography tends to be mainly integres, prime and non-prime. Things like e come up indirectly . You have things like the prime number theorem how many prime numbers you should expect in the first n numbers. That inlolves a logarithm and theat involves an e . For standard RSA type cryptography its really integre based , you might need these numbers in proofs but not doing in the calculations. Computers are not very good at representing non integres to a precision that when you endcode something then when you unencode you guarantee you get back to what you started with, you end up with a degree of error.? There are people who have developed ways of doing exact calculations with algebraic numbers. Because if I know that my number is a root of a polynomial , then I can give a small interval where there is only that one root in that interval , there are ways of relating an algebraic number to this polynomial and another such pairing and the product of those two can lead to something being built from those 2 polynomials. So it is possible to do exact arithmatic on computers with hhtese non repeating decimals that ar ealgebraic becaus ewe have this finite amount of information that specifies them . TNs we have nothing , we cannot do exact calculations, all we can do is bound the error. Are you alluding to elliptec curves? I think that sort of thing crops up in elliptic curve cryptography but it comes up el;sewhere as well. I know the polynomials involved and need to specify which root and there are ways of doing those calculations. I'm curious about the negative proofs, going back to squaring the circle. ? If I allow myself to draw any circle with a compass and I give myself a straight edge as long as I need and you hand me a circle , can I use that compass and straight edge to construct a square , geometrically, with the same area . If I could then I could translate the geometric operations of circles and lines into a polynomial that my number would have to satisfy. And then pi would be algebraic and its not , so therefore this construction cannot ever occur becaus eI have this extra piece of information of that construction gives me a polynomial or I can relate a polynomial to that construction . So if a construction exists, a polynomial exists and our number is algebraic. We know its not algebraic so we know no such construction exists. You restrict the sort of constructions you allow very tightly , a tightly constrained question. Somewhere along the way Euler's formula wa svoted the most beautiful equation in maths, could you expand on the concept of beauty and maths as they don't necessarily seem to sit together.? Simple relationships involving complicate dthings we find pleasing. Yor taking thingsd that shouldn't be related and your relating them in a way that turns out to be very straightforward to write down. I think that quote is originally due to Feinman, a physicist , but we'll forgive him that. One o fthe greatest physicists who;s ever lived. I think the beauty comes not just from the equation itself but e^pi as a TN is complicated, there are no simple relationships involving it all . But stick that i in and all of a sudden you get a relationship that is incredibly simple that involves just addition and integres. The transistion from incredibly complicated , add one little thing and I get something very simple, its that transition that is the beautiful thing. Also Euler's formula just shows up everywhere, its the foundation stone of alot of stuff. Such a fundamental relationship between 5 fundamental things is not something we would expect to exist. Its not just the succinctness but what it is involving. For maths and beauty you can touch on the Mandelbrot Set, involving complex numbers? THey are so unbelievably simple but create such beautiful fractal forms.? ( see the banner pic background I used on posters, at the head of this section) How much do you want to know about the Mandelbrot set. The thing about fractals which is closer to what I know , and could go on till dawn Thursday , is how complicated an object can I describe with a simple set of rules. The Mandelbrot set , your asking what is a very simple question and getting out an incredibly complicated answer. The more I read about the Mandelbrot set , the more complicated the answer gets. Basicaly I set up an iterative process, something where I have a complex number which I'll call c. You hand me a number , I square that number and I add c to it , and I take that and stick it back in , I square it and add c , the result of that I square it and add c , keep doing the same thing , iterating . And I see what happens to those numbers , one of 2 things will happen , eithe r my numbers go skittering off or they stay close by. If stay close by I colour that number black , if off to infinity I colour that number white. Then I ask , what is the number I see when I look at all the black points. That shape is incredibly complicated , we have the property that no matter what scale I'm looking at . I can find 2 numbers really clos e togethe r and they behave completely differently . I see the same complicated picture occuring on smaller and smaller scales , no matter how small I make the scale. I get this object that our brains cannot hold . Its just one little equation . You can find example s on the internet . They zoom in on a really small piece and you see what looks like copies of the whole set, no matter how many times you zoom down, you keep seeing copies of what looks to be the whole thing. There was a program I heard on the radio about pi and there wa sa throw away remark at the end after having talked about TN etc, saying that in decimal notation all the digits occur equally frequently, on average. How do you know because you can never get to the end , then the bit that scared me. If you represented in hexadecimal notation , one of the digts occured more frequently, which just sounded wrong. Is that just because they hadn't gone far enough? There is a precise definition of what it means for each of the digits from 0 to 9 to occur equally frequently i na decimal expansion . And the number that occurs is called normal. I told you earlier , run screaming on hearing that word. A normal numbe ris where roughly 1/10 of all the digits occur equally. There is a way of defining what I mean by that even with an infinite expansion . I did not know that pi being normal had been proved. I don't think the guy on the radio said it had been proved, it was more an observation of the first few trillion digits. What we don;t know is if we get to the trillion trillionth digit, whether pi startsgoing 010010001001000001.. , not very likely, still a non repeating decimal but possible. I think you can have a number that is normal to one base but not normal to another. It would be nice to thinkthat pi is normal and normal in all bases, but I've no reason to think that. Perhaps on the digits they had that pi looked normal on base 10 , but not normal base 16. If you could proove that sort of thing , you'd be really famous amongst a really small group of Ms.

08 Sep 2014, Professor Roy Weller, Southampton University - "Alzheimer's disease : prospects for therapy" 35 people, 1 1/2 hr Alzeimer's disease ,AD, probably affects everyone in some way or another. Notice the rather futuristic title of the talk, prospects for therapy not necessarily what therapies are at the moment but I will mention those. I spent my time as a neeuropathologist. To diagnose things like brain tumors , muscle disease and also to diagnose dimentias like AD and to do research. For over 20 years I've ben researching into AD, mainly as an insurance policy but its not paying off. I also talk with students. If w elook back at the last century or so, there's been enormous strides in medicine , better nutrition, from 1940 when the national loaf was introduced, the size of children went up . On the whole , people born before 1940 are smaller than those born after 1940. Infections dropped enormously with the introduction of antibiotics. the diseases that kill people in their youth were being elliminated. Public health reduced infections and also reducing cancers. Coronary artery disease is being treated and strokes are being well treated now. It leaves us with a certain number of disorders , particularly dimentias , where there has been almost no dent in the number of people developing them. In some countries like India or Korea , wher people died of strokes due to high blood pressure , treating the high blood pressure, reduced the number of strokes , but the number of patients with AD increased because people were living longer. So its a disease of old age and the more you treat diseases in younger people , the more dimentia cases you must expect. A grreat challlenge and an enormous amount of resources are being put in to caring for the elderly demented but also into research. The pattern is you're fairly safe up to age 70 unless you have some familial disease and then the major time for dementias is over the age of 75 and goes up rapidly after that. Present estimate is about 800,000 people with AD in the country. A lady over here will tell us of her experience with someone with AD { A friend of my late mum , comes to visit me, she's very confused, thinks my mum is still here. Can't find her way home, can't find her keys , doesn't understand what is going on . You go to her home and she doesn't know how to get into her house , she thinks that people are trying to get her into a home , that other people are working against her ] I'm sure othe rpeople have experiences like that. As a summary , one of the symptoms is impairment of recent memory . Not knowing what you had for breakfast , not knowing what you've been doing in the last couple of days, but often very vivid memories of events in the past. Then as it gets worse, an inibility to perform complex tasks , independent living becomes impossible and people have to move into homes. There are changes in personality and often aggression. So very disturbing for the carers . A brain from a demented person and you can see the most affected part is the frontal part of the brain, whereas the back bit is not affected. You can see this by the shrinkage , the wide valleys between the various ridges on the brain ,and no gaps on the rear. The area for your personality, your intellect , long term memory and then as you go back , areas for movement , if damaged in that area you don't move your limbs well. Then the part that looks after how you feel, eg touch the table , and that part tells me it is a hard table. Then there is an interesting transition as at the back of the brain is vision. And between being able to touch the table and vision are the association areas which means you can put your hand in your pocket and be able to tell the difference between a pound coin and a 50p, being spatially aware. Often with AD this area is badly affected. Mostly it is the front part and the part deep in the brain that is to do with short term memory. There are various cells in the brain , the all important nerve cells or neurons , form a nettwork by having a process , with myalin the fatty sheath that insulates the axon , the process, so the electrical impulses can pass along it very rapidly to another neurone. Then the supporting cellls , the astocites because they are star-shaped and they look afte rthe external environment, controlling the fluids and chemicals in the external environment. The oligodentocites , because they have very few processes, they make the myalin, so for multiple schlerosis for examle you loose these cells , and so loose the myalin and then the impulses don't pass along the axons at the right speed and so your brain doesn't work properly. Then the blood vessels , not only supplying nutrients to the brain, but the blood vessel walls have channels along which waste products move out of the brain. I wil lreturn to that as its an important cause to AD. AD is not the only dementia . It is the commonest one, about 65% of cases. You can really only make an absolute diagnosis by taking a piece of brain or taking the whole brain and examining under a microscope. A lot of effort therefore into trying to diagnose by taking X-rays and MRI or by taking cerebral-spinal fluid or blood. The basic problem I will start with is the accumulation of rubbish proteins in the brain with age, so my brain probably looks like my garage with all its rubbish accumulated over time. If you have nerons that rely on electrical impulses , you have to control the environment. Without control, the whole thing starts to fade. A major challenge , in the prevention and treatment is how to stop the rubbish proteins accumulating or to get rid of them and also to protect the nerve cells from the effect of having these proteins in the brain. Allois Alzeimer , a psychiatrist in Germany and he described the first case of what became known as AD in 1910. First described aurally in 1906 . One of his drawings , from microscope , coloured pen drawing . Yellow patch is a substsance called ameloid . Ameloid is called that because it stains black or yellow like starch. Ameloid is one of the rubbish proteins that accumulates in the brain. The second described case had another feature, black staining filaments in nerve cells and they were called neurofibril entanglements, tangles of black stuff. Most of science advances with the introduction of new techniques and just before 1900 a number of stains were introduced , whereby people took bitys of brain , boiled them in things like silver nitrate and that impregnated various cells and structures with silver salts which looked black under a microscope. This stain is a Bylovsky ? stain. So the tangles and the rather insoluble protein amaloid of AD cells. The 2 major rubbish proteins that accumulate. Jump a century to MRI scan , showing a brain , the central hole with cerebral spinal fluid in , the ventricles and then a rim of grey matter with the nerve cells in and the white matter of the communication areas of the brain and the skull. Normal brain , tightly packed into the skull but someone with AD , you can see the brain has shrunk. Large ventricles and large spaces between the bits of brain. The sites for recent memory become very shrunken . In AD , for some people more than others , the brain starts to shrink. Under the microscope you see what Alzeimer saw . A piece of cerebral cortex , stained dots , are bits of ameloid , distributed throughout the cerebral cortex. The plaques of ameloid and the nerve cells containing neurofibrile entanglements. Our current knowlege of what tends to happen with the developement of AD. The tanglements in the nerve cells probably occur due to disfunction of one of the pathways by which proteins are dissolved and eliminated within. Normal proteins accumulating in an abnormal form within the neurones. If you damage the neurone , what happens to its process . The nutrients coming down the axon , the process , come fromn / , and you tend to damage a number of the coinnections and diconnects 2 or more cells. Then the ameloid accumulating in the spaces between the cells , eventually forming big spherical plaques . It also accumulates along vessels . Very little is known about what sets this off, the formation of the tangles within the cell but we know a bit about why the ameloid protein accumulates. The brain does not have the normal lymphatic drainage that your feet or liver , stomach or face have . There aren't any lymphatic vessels and the fluid and proteins go along very narrow membranes , only 100nm thick , within the walls of blood vessels. Probably moved by waves derived from the pulse wave. If you are 20 years old , your arteries are expanding and contracting well , but at my age they are pretty static due to stiffness . So its thought this pathway in the walls becomes inefficient and no longer can drain the soluble forms of this protein and so accumulate i nthe brain and also the vessel walls. It produces inflammation in the brain and eventually neurons die and the brain starts to shrink. A progressive process. How did AD discoveries develop. From 1906 to 1986 until the nasty protein ameloid was isolated and the gene was discovered for the protein from which ameloid is derived . This gene is very important for inherited forms of AD. If you get a mutation in that gene you can get a very early form of AD i nyour 50s or 60s rather than the late form that has no genetic background. Then the gene for the tangles was found in 1998. Current state is age is a major risk factor in AD. There is another protein that is also a major risk and there are other genes that play a less obvious role. It looks as though AD is due partly to your genetic makeup , totally if you have an inherited form, and partly due to enviromental aspects. One of the recent advances in the last 10 years or so is you can look at the brain and tell how well nerones are taking up things like glucose and oxygen and how well they arte functioning as cells. You can also look at the distribution of the nasty ameloid within the brain by positron emission tomography , inject radioactive substances which are metabolised by the brain . Normal person view and the white areas show the cerebral cortex taking up , in this case, deoxy glucose ,so a good blood supply and a good metabolism there. For someone with AD there are large gaps and less uptake of glucose and less metabolism in the brain. Probably less nerve cells . then an ameloid marker, again normal brain cannot see any ameloid and for an AD person then a colour change in some areas indicating ameloid present. So we are now getting to be able to tell the state of people's brains are , before they die, by MRI and PET scans. When Alzeimer described his first 2 cases , one case was age 56 and the other age 54, so early age AD. For many years up to 1970s/1980s people distinguished between pre-senile dementia , below 65 for some magic reason , and senile dementia. The ones under they called AD because they wer elike Alzeimer's description but people didn't like their relatives being given the diagnosis of senile dementia particularly in the USA, so changed the name to AD. Quite right as its the same disease, its jus tthe younger people with AD have a mutation i nthe ameloid producing gene or other AD-related genes. So the gene for the protein from which ameloid is derived a protein that sticks through the cell membrane . About 700 amino acids long , when just 40 par long that is cut out , and the gene mutation variations ar ejust in that section . Some of them are in the bit away from the ameloid and some within the ameloid . All these mutations will cause early onset dementia, forming the wrong type of ameloid , or too much ameloid or it is not degraded properly. So a mutation in your ameloid precursor protein gene then a high likelihood of getting early onset AD. Return to why ameloid and tangles accumulate in the brain. You may have overproduction iof ameloid or TAU, typical in the familial cases , with gene mutations for the TAU protein. In the sporadic cases , with no obvios genetic backgreound , which is 95% of cases, probably a failure with age of ellimination of these 2 proteins. Something goes wrong as you age that allows these proteins to accumullater. One of the recent developements for AD treatment started about 1999 . Knowing that people with mutations in their ameloid precursor proteins they produced transgenic mice , that overproduced the rubbish protein and the amaloid accumulated in their brainsd. Then they immunised the mice against ameloid and unexpecttedly the ameloid disappeared from the mouse brain. Sothey opened up clinical trials and immunised patients against the ameloid protein and the protein disappeared from the brain . They expected the patients to improve, but they didn't , so why not. Yes it disappeared from the brain but it accumulated in the walls of the blood vessels . So getting stuck in the elimination pathways . Furthermore they were only treating patients who were demented, and so had lost their neurones. So now there are attempts to treat people who are not as bad . Under developemnt and at the moment we cannot say that immuno-therapy will be the answer. 2 problems to solve, when to treat and how to get the ameloid all the way out of the brain. It didn't do anything for the neuro-fibro-entanglements. So why so difficult to eliminate ameloid-beta. The way the body deals with waste products. Take the skin and subcutaneous fat at your neck there are the channels and lymph nodes ( sore throats from bacteria at tonsils getting in to the tonsils and going through the lymph nodes) . all over the body , lymph channels that normally transpor tfluids and waste products to the lymph nodes and eventually excreted . Those channels also transport infections and cancer cells . But the brain doesnm't have any lymphatics . The fluids are driven along the tiny channels in the artery walls probably by a reflectiuon wave that comes after the pulse wave. With age the pulse waves decrease in amplitude and this mechanism starts to fail. Ameloid is an awkward protein, althoiugh it exists in a soluble form , if you don't drain it rapidly enough ist forms insoluble ameloid, wherever it is. It precipitates where it slows. From your brain the fluid and waste products go down to the lymph nodes in your neck and is a rapid process. What happens to arteries as you age. One is they stiffen so they are no longer getting rid of waste products , particularly ameloid, when it gets stuck it makes things worse. Also small bits of blood clot are flicking off from your various arteries and from your heart and blocking arteries in your brain. Most patients with AD also have little areas where the brain has died , little scars, due to lack of blood supply. (you, sir, are looking horrified) This is going on throughout your life . These can be either very large strokes where you are paralysed down one sside or be very small ones that just kill off a few nerve cells. Throughout adult life thios is probably happening and it increase s with age. What are the options for AD therapy. You probably know people with Parkinson's disease, they get very stiff and to move they have to lean forward and go with very small steps. This is due to a deficiency of a particular protein called dopamine in the brain. It was found in the 1960s that if you replace that dopamine in the brain then patients get so much better. Also in the 1960s it was found that AD patients had a deficiency in acetylcoline . The only current treatment for AD is trying to replace the acetylcholine. It only works in some cases and is not the absolute cure. People have tried to reduce the amount of ameloid that is produced i nthe brain, on the basis that if you cut down the prduction it won't accumulate. 2 problems with that. one, it doesn't seem to work and secondly, no one is really sure exactly what ameloid does in the normal brain . So there is a great danger that you are getting one of the normal fuctions . So its not been a popular form of therapy. With immunisation there is little clinical effect at the moment, maybe the wrong patients, maybe it needs following through with getting the ameloid all the way out of the brain. So watch this space as far as therapies are concerned . The effect of having these proteins in the brain and the inflammation that goes with them is that you affect the environment of neurones and so they die. Various strategies have been devised for protecting the neurones from all the nasty chemicals that are released and are in developement at the moment, within striking distance. A lot of attention has been paid to prevention . If you keep your arteries young and efficient , more exercise etc , whether your arteries will stiffen up eventually is difficult to know,. So the same measures for prevention of stroke and heart disease . Something being considered is the complete removal of ameloid . Preventing the creation of the tangles is rather a long way behind the other approaches. So nothing at the moment that we can see is a cure for AD. Q&A You said we didn't know the function of ameloid which is one of the proteins involved , do we know the normal function of any of the ones that malfunction in AD? We know the function of the TAU protein of the tangles . If you have a nerve cell and a long process, you have to have some transport system for foodstuffs and energy sources to go down and it seems to work by lots of tiny tubules running the whole length of the axon and could be over 1m or so in length from the head to the back . Then you have little short filaments that go down in bunches and they're attached to the filaments and they walk down them . So the full name of TAU is microtubular associated protein. Its one of the proteins that aids transport down. Normally there ios a turnover of this protein , going into certain areas of a cell and broken down into its components. In AD this has phosphate groups associated with it and becomes hyper-phosphorilated and then it doesn't seem to be defrailable . So for some reason this accumulateds and then more and more. How old are your neurones , a bit older than you as they started in foetal life. Its amazing that people's nerve cells survive 100 years wheras some of the cells in your gut last about 10 minutes. And the analogy with the rubbish in my garage is apt. Gradually , it has to turn over in the cells and leaves tiny bits of rubbish and the dustmen never come to the neurones. They come to the astrocytes but not the neurones, so they gradually accumulate rubbish inside. Most of it is harmless but the hyperphosphorilated TAU seems to be harmfull. Has the incidence of AD and other dementias increrased , as we've become more sophixsicated , more poluted and environmental toxins going back over 100 to 200years , and is it worse now or just that we are living longer? We're living much longer and AD is a disease of an aging population. I don't know if its increasing disproportionately to the increase of people living over the age of 75. In the last 200 years we've become more sedantry and living indoors rather than more active outdoors , farmers and labourers? You don't die of dysentry , typhoid , TB , sore throats , diptheria now , you don't die if you severely injure your leg and infections. Most of the infections have been controled except Ebola, even that is a minor blip compared to other diseases. Is it possible to slow down AD by brain activity , by studying , doing quizes and such? Its always said that the more you use the brain, the less likely you ar eto get AD. But of course if you have AD , then you can't use your brain. There have been a lot of studies trying to show that high educational standards tend to protect you from AD but on an anecdotal basis you see just as many cases. A friend of mine went to Cambridge , a canon in Kent and just died from AD. People at both ends of the educational scale die from AD. Are there any animals known to have had AD or other dementias? If you look at an aged elephant or an aged tiger or an old dog they've usually got ameloid in their brains, not so much the tangles . Humans seem to live long enough to get that. But of course animals in the wild die from dental caries or they get eaten. Captive primates? I think they do develop ameloid but I'm not certain of that. With the exception of genetic predisposition , is there any links to say nutrition or anything other than age, bad or good? Nothing that seems to stand up . A lot of surveys , cliunical trials at the moment of folate deficiency with a large trial group and then the results will be unequivocal. A healthy balanced diet , which of course is goot for you arteries as well . Is the power of your heart significant , a relaxed attitude to life and plenty of sleep , would that be advantageous, more time to get rid of the ameloid? There is a group in the USA that think that sleep is one of the things that allows your brain to rid itself of ameloid . But the evidence they've put forward is still under discussion , lets term it. You've talked about possible therapies and how they were in the early stages and not particularly effective . What about drugs that are currently prescribed for patients with AD eg arocept , what do they do to halt or temporarily arrest progress of AD? Arocept is one of the replacements for acetylcholine , prevents the destruction of acetylcoline. Originally it was put forward as a replacement for the whole brain , but there is morte in the brain than just the nerve cells , the blood vessels respond to ecetylcholine and it could be in some patients its having an effect on the blood vessel either with the supply of blood or with the elimination of waste products. And presumably its only temporary , because the underlying problem is multiplying ? By the time someone develops the symptoms and signs of AD , they've got a lot of destruction in their brain and you cannot actually repair the brain . It may be better looking at treating people from a younger age. Coming back to the heart . You're right there's a lot of talk about the connection between heart function and the way the blood vessels work in the brain. If you go back 2000 years and you look atr the way science developed Aristotle for example, considered the brain was a cooling chamber to cool the ardours of the heart. It was a few hundred years before they realised the brain was a site of intelligence. Once you identify the condition , presumably the patient is exhibiting significant signs . Scanning and being able to see a deteriation from an early age , a patient then goes on to exhibit the classic symptoms . Is there any information how the disease progresses , perhaps i nthe early stages as well as in the later stages.? Every patient seems to be different , some people have mild cognitive impairment , some loss of short term memory , a feature of most aging individuals and they may just stop there. Or they may progress to AD . Using PET scans, so on live patients , you can look at the amount of ameloid in the brain. People in the early stages of AD seem to have the same amount of ameloid as people in the late stages. This suggests there is a threshold , you reach the threshold and then the effect it has on the brain just deteriorates. So you can live with a lot of ameloid then something tips over , into AD. It may be that at that point there is a change in the chemistry of the brain. That trigger point is not not known well? Its very difficult to investigate what is happening because it wouild mean opening someone's head. You can't do it by monitoring the PET scans? The PET scans of mild cognitive impairment often have their full complement of ameloid , so you have to look at them before that, before you know of the developement. Can you see o nthe PET scan as the disease progresses? Not the PET but the MRI, yes. So you could say a patient had started with AD , by looking at the amount of shrinkage? To some extent but each case is very variable , sometimes the brain does not seem to shrink at all. The diagnosis of AD is very difficult and I'm not a clinician. My clinical colleagues would say a patient would die , I'm convinced its aD , anmd it would turn out to be something totally different. Or they are convinced its anothe rdementia and it would turn out to be AD. If you had a collection of normal 50 yearolds ,say, what would be the first indivcator ? Your future is destined for AD? There are no reliable indivcators unless you have a family history. A week or 2 ago i went to open up a package , thick plastic, requiring scidssors . Then I went to transfer stuff into the refuse and realised I'd put the scissors in the rubbish along with the wrapping. I thought thats not right, I dopn't remeber doing that before. I'm not worried because I can still do cryptic crosswords. There must be somewhere in the spectrum from just not remembering the name of someone you'd not seen for som,e years up to putting your shoes in the fridge or total incapability of running your own life. There is nothing along that spectrum that would suggest ? Again I emphasise I don't see patients clinically with AD. There ar etests. There is a mental score where you giove the patient a whole lot of questions and see how they answer them. Loss of memory or difficulty recalling things is something that happens to all people as they get older. Could it be related to auto-immune disease.? The body attacking , via inflammation, and what causes the inflammation ? Usually you can tell whether there is an auto-immune disease by the cells in the brain , the inflammatory cells , or by antibody levels , T-cells, lymphocytes in the blood and a proportion of patients do have antibodies to the ameloid and a proportion of people attack the ameloid , usually in the blood vessel walls, then they get really big problems because they get a stroke. But that is a minority of patients. You said AD diagnosis was difficult , false positives and false negatives , does this affect quality of data ? Exactly, so any clinical trial has always got this fuzzy edge , where a proportion don't actually have AD. I think you go along to your statistician to find how to improve the data, from that sort of noise at the edge. You have to enlarge the sample. There are a lot of research papers on measuring the lengths of teleromases and its relationship to age . The teleromases tend to shorten as you age. But you can lengthen them again via certain nutrients. Are there any papers relating lengths of teleromases and AD? Not to my knowledge . Mos tof the teleromase determinations are in the context of tumours . I suffer from ME. A parallel symptom is short term memory loss . Has there ever been seen any relationship between ME and AD? With ME there seems to be various types of ME which makes it so difficult to research it properly. ME has always been a mystery to me. Very few data on what is actually happening in the brain. I'm not aware of any studies showing a connection between ME and AD. Could AD be various different things , you were saying that no 2 seem to be the same? There may be multiple pathways to the same result but diagnosis of AD is made on pathological examination of the brain. There are strict criteria for diagnosis, the number of plaques , number of tangles, the site of the tangles. Is non AD dementia a heterogenious group of conditions or ar ethey mostly the sam as one another? There is a large range of dementias, tsaking the sympomology of various dementias. Some of those dementias go through different phases . They ar emostly to do with the accumulation of rubbish proteins in the cells , but different proteins , eithe routside or inside the cells. One that hits the headlines is the human form of mad-cow disease , Cruizfelt-Jacob disease . That occurs naturally in th eaging population and the protein that is produced can then be transmitted to othe rpeople or to anim,als. the brain just fills up with an ameloid-like protein , so in that way is very similar to AD. Its a totally different protein , different onset , different biology. A small group of disparate causes. And quite a lot of them are heriditary. Has there been any epigenetic pathway discovered into the developement of AD? The genome has been taken apart so a large number of patiens have had there genetics analsed , then their life history looked at. There ar esome interesting environmental things . For example if you have a head injury you accumalate ameloid in your brain. . So production of ameloid may be something to do with the stress of having a head injury. If you have a severe head injury then you can produce a lot of ameloid and it settles in your brain. So young people, say agfe 40, die soon after the head injury , they have a lot of ameloid in their brain and in their vessel walls but it probably goes away again. If you look at a section with ameloid in, what was it like last week, befor ethe patient died, so could be a shifting scenario, reach a threshold then an effect on the brain. So there could be a link with such as boxing or rugby , severe acceleration/decellaration within the brain? Certainly you want to avoid a head injury because your brain is the consitency of blancmange floating in your head. Normally if you turn your head it doesn't give you brain damage but fall out of a car and hit your head on the pavement , then your skull stops and your brain goes on and all the fibres in the brain start to tear , so disconnections. Following severe head injuries, patients often have difficulty with memory , where the memory pathway often gets very badly damaged , also difficulties with concentration and maybe not be able to hold down a job any longer because of all the disconnections. They may have damage to blood vessels , and sort of mini-strokes all over the place. That would be directly proportional to the G-forces involved in the trauma? Not necessarily . I had a very aged aunt and at the age of 96 she decided to come and see us. She caught a bus from Plymouth to Southampton . I went to Soton to meet her and as she got off the bus she slipped off the pavement , skidded along the sid eof the bus and fell over , flat on her face. I took her home , she had a slight nose bleed , cut on her nose and a cut on her knee. While we were going home I said, you did exactly the right thing. You fell on your nose, becaus ethe bones of your face cushioned the fall , because if you'd fallen on the side of your head you would probably have a brain haemorage. If you'd fallen on an outstretched hand, you would have fractured your wrist and if you had fallen on your hip, you'd have fractured your hip. She wasn't impressed this. As the population ages , is there any data showing up how different cultures or races being affected by AD? or is it uniform? The data from the USA, and Europe is very good. Bu t the data from China , India etc is not good because there is not the facility for data collection. THe African-American and Japanese populations should show insight into that? Don't quote me on this but I think there is greater propensity for Afro-Americans to develop AD. So there could be racial differences , genetic and environmental factors coming into it. My mother died in 1998 and she had cronic AD, she always swore when she began , that it wa sdue to aluminium in her pans, for bouiling fruit in? Was there ever any truth in that? When we startred analysing the brains of people who had died , and we found there was aluminium associated with the plaques of animals. If you injected aluminium onto the surface of the brains of rabbits , they developed structures that looked like neuro-fibral tangles. So a great industry developed looking at aluminium and AD but the problem is the plaques act like dustbins , so it doesn't matter what you inject into the brain, it all ends up in the plaques. Al is probably the most ubiquitous element and it gets into everything. Its quietened down, there is no real evidence that Al pans lead to AD. What was the pathological outcome of the Camelford contamination incident, I remember there was something about Al surfacing on the brain or something . They tipped tons of aluminium sulphate or something in to a water processing plant and people's hair turned green and some died from domething.? Aluminium is a problem with renal dialysis , patients a brain disease due to swelling as a result of Al. I knew the chairman of the Camelford committee and she said the conclusion in the end was that it had had no effect whatsoever in the population. So another scare story in the press, or another cover-up? Knowing this particular lady , trying to cover-up something from her would not be a good idea. We've heard of the aetiology of AD , what is the hope , what current trials are going on for ythe future? Aging is a very difficult thing to reverse. So far any anti-afging therapies have not become apparent and not been statistically proven . AD is effectively an aging problem and how you prevent the aging of blood vessels , how you prevent the aging of neurones . In Gulliver's Travels , Gulliver went to an island that floated above the Earth and in this population 1% of the poplutaion lived to 400 or 500 years old, but they aged phenominally , from the age of 100 they were demented . Keeping people alive beyond fulfilling their lives may noit be a good idea. At the moment there doesn't seem to be anything that will cure AD. Maybe the resources woulf better go to making the patients lives much mor e pleasant, but also the carers lives much mor epleasant. I'm associated with 2 societies . One is Alzeimer's Research UK, concentrates on pure scientfic research and the other is the Alzeimer's Society with a wide spread and 2 committees one is biomedical grants committe that I chair and the othe ris social medicine research committee . So the AS is putting money into social care and finding watys of improving the care of patients with AD and they are very conscious of the huge burden on the carers. I have this problem at home , but have not approached anyone about it other than the doctors. Would it be sensible to approach someoner in the AS? There is the AS and also Age UK. I was very impressed, we had a visit from Age-UK and they do things like help people with hteir finances , and more so in the future when your expected to do everything online and if you can't remember your passwords etc then they can help. Also for a break for carers? Yes the AS are much concerned with that.


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