ALZHEIMER'S researchers in Southampton are to share in a £2.15 million hand out to help fight the illness.

Alzheimer’s Society is backing new global care research at the University of Southampton into Parkinson’s disease, which aims to enhance the quality of life with people living with Parkinson's disease.

Professor Mari Carmen Portillo and her team received £188,500 for their research programme, as people with Parkinson’s disease are at high risk of developing dementia and across Hampshire more than 24,600 people have dementia.

More than 3,480 people in Hampshire are also known to have Parkinson’s disease and the society estimates between 50 to 80 percent of people in the UK with Parkinson’s will develop dementia.

The Department of Health and Social Care England, Health and Care Research Wales and Health and Social Care Northern Ireland have also worked with Alzheimer's Society to deliver this money to eight research programmes across the UK.

Professor Portillo said: "I am keen to create strong networks in the Southampton/Hampshire area, which include all the key people who make living with Parkinson’s disease more positive. The sheer number of local and national organisations involved illustrates the overwhelming range of possibilities and this work will definitely be challenging but I am sure we will all benefit."

She added: "I started researching this area fifteen years ago in Spain and I could never have anticipated I would be living in Southampton and working with other prestigious international researchers.

"The University of Southampton and in particular the school of health sciences and the faculty of medicine ensures a very supportive environment for me and the fantastic optim-park team. I am also particularly grateful to Dr James Pickett at Alzheimer’s Society who supported our funding bid from the outset."

The research will work closely with local organisations relevant to people with Parkinson’s Disease, such as their families, health and social care professionals and charities in Hampshire.

James Pickett, head of research at Alzheimer’s Society, said: "One person develops dementia every three seconds across the world. Dementia is a global problem, and we need global collaboration to defeat it.

"Alzheimer’s Society is committed to spend at least £150 million on dementia research in the next decade. As the only UK charity funding research into dementia care, cure and prevention, we are delighted to include the Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease as part of our research portfolio."