AN Inverclyde councillor is 'walking the walk' to discover whether she has indicators which can lead to dementia - after tragically losing her mother to the cruel illness. 

Pam Armstrong has volunteered for the AHEAD 3-45 study, run by NeuroClin in Glasgow, to help with research into the condition. 

If Pam is found to have what are called 'markers' for dementia in her blood, she will take part in a trial of a drug called Lecanemab. 

The SNP councillor told the Telegraph: "It's perhaps a dangerous thing to be talking about as a politician but I feel very strongly about it. 

"Someone should be doing something to try to stop this horrible illness and it might as well be me.

"I just feel that it's time for me to 'walk the walk'."

Scientists will check Pam's blood for a substance called amyloid, which is a protein found in the brain and body. 

Greenock Telegraph:
In a person who has dementia, amyloid forms into clumps called 'plaques' in the brain. 

If Pam is found to have one or more markers, she will participate in the clinical trial. 

She added: "I don't have to have any difficult conversations if I do find out I have markers for the illness, so it's the right thing for me to do."

Pam's mum Phyllis Helen Smith passed away in November 2021, aged 94, after being formally diagnosed with dementia around four years previously. 

Alongside her husband, Pam was a carer for her mum for many years until she moved into a home in the north of Scotland in 2017. 

Greenock Telegraph:
Pam says the severity of her mum's illness came to the fore during the first coronavirus lockdown. 

She added: "My mum knew who I was at the start of the first lockdown in 2020 but didn't know me by the end.

"She lived a long and full life but there's a whole phase of my life that my mum knows nothing about.

"It was only the last couple of years that were really distressing for all of us."

Councillor Armstrong says coronavirus lockdown could have led to more people across Inverclyde being more predisposed to developing the condition. 

She added: "There are believed to be around 90,000 people living with dementia across Scotland at the moment but I think that's an underestimation. 

"Isolation, loneliness, and lack of social interaction are all contributing factors in mental decline. 

"We all had that during the pandemic. 

"It stands to reason that the figure will be higher now."

Pam recently attended a series of Dementia Friendly Inverclyde events and is very keen to support increased awareness of the condition. 

She recalled an Inverclyde resident who attended one of the events as they were worried they were starting to develop symptoms of dementia. 

Pam added: "It must have taken a lot for that person to come along and they're now getting help. 

"We don't often think about dementia in terms of someone who may be sitting at home worried that they may have the condition and how frightening that must be. 

"Being conscious that you might forget appointments must be very frightening."

Councillor Armstrong has urged anyone who is concerned about their own health or the health of another person to reach out for support. 

She said people can contact their GP but if they are struggling to get an appointment, can also seek help from organisations like Your Voice. 

Pam said she hopes speaking more about dementia will raise awareness in communities all over Inverclyde and provide people with support. 

She added: "If anyone is struggling on their own or noticing changes, please reach out. 

"I am happy to listen to anyone who wants to talk."