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Tuesday, 16 October, 2001, 05:46 GMT 06:46 UK
Alzheimer's unit funded by 'big hearts'
Newcastle General Hospital
The Roland Boyes suite is based at Newcastle General
A brain tissue imaging suite named after an Alzheimers sufferer is opening in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The Roland Boyes Suite at Newcastle General Hospital is equipped with machinery provided by the Alzheimer's Research Trust.

At least a quarter of the 40,000 cost was raised voluntarily after a six-year-long campaign started by the former MP, who was diagnosed with the disease in 1995.

The suite is being opened on Tuesday by Mr Boyes' wife, Pat.

Gradual deterioration

Mrs Boyes told BBC News Online: "I am very grateful to everybody who has contributed - they must have big hearts.

"It is an amazing number of people who have Alzheimer's disease, it destroys the person and it is devastating to watch.

"I would like a Roland's imaging room in every town in the country.

"Man can walk on the moon but here is a disease they have known about for 100 years and they know nothing about its cause or cure.

"People just gradually deteriorate and there is nothing you can do about it."

Roland Boyes retired in 1997.

After teaching in three secondary schools he became Assistant Director of Social Services for County Durham.

He later went on to be the first MEP for Durham, and finally the MP for Houghton and Washington.

Mrs Boyes, 61, said: "We were told there was no cure in 1995, but had we come across somebody like us now, it would have made a big difference to me and Roland.

"We would have known that someone was doing some research.

"It is a gradual deterioration of the brain cells. Every day, simple things like cutting meat with a knife you stop being able to do.

"Now, he does not walk, and he has not spoken for two years - it has been very difficult.

The Roland Boyes Suite is based inside the Institute for the Health of the Elderly at the hospital.

The Alzheimer's Research Trust has funded a second brain tissue imaging suite in Bristol.

Click here to go to BBC Tyne Online
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