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Summary

Ricoh’s partnership with Alzheimer’s Research UK showcases how 3D printing can be used as an important visualisation tool to raise awareness of one of society’s biggest health challenges, dementia. Educational models created for the charity’s #DementiaUncovered campaign are instrumental in explaining and driving awareness of the diseases, most commonly Alzheimer’s, that cause dementia. The aim is to show people that dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing, and through research, we can bring an end to it.

The problem

Dementia has a debilitating effect on the lives of so many. More than 50 million people worldwide are now affected by dementia and one in three people born today will develop the condition, without life-changing preventions and treatments. Despite the prevalence of dementia, a lack of education amongst the public at large remains an issue, as people wrongly believe nothing can be done to stop it.

The solution

The impact of dementia can be devastating, yet there are currently no treatments to slow, stop or prevent the diseases that cause it. But we know, by changing the way people think about dementia and through investing in groundbreaking research, we can bring about the life-changing treatments desperately needed. 

Ricoh teamed up with Alzheimer’s Research UK for its #DementiaUncovered campaign, to not only raise awareness of the condition but to help educate the general public. Many people don’t realise that dementia is caused by brain diseases and is not just an inevitable part of later life.  

A series of 3D printed brains help demonstrate the stark contrast between a healthy brain and one affected by dementia, a vital educational tool for Alzheimer’s Research UK’s roadshows across the country.

The physical processes at work with dementia shrink the brain by up to four times when compared to that of natural ageing, and the 3D printed versions expertly illustrate this.

Ricoh worked with Alzheimer’s Research UK and actor Simon Pegg to help create a powerful film which visualises 3D brain models and the physical effects on the brain of dementia. Using real anonymous data from MRI brain scans and our 3D printing capabilities, the film shows the physical difference between a healthy brain and one affected by Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia.

The video has been viewed more than two million times and can be watched here:

Following the success of this film, together we built on this campaign by creating films showcasing real-life stories of people with different forms of dementia and the researchers working towards a cure.

We’re proud to also share our Telford site with Ricoh’s Printed Memories initiative. Since 2018 the online portal has turned digital photos into postcards that friends and family can send to someone affected by dementia, to help them stay connected to their loved ones.

While great progress is being made in the search for a cure for dementia, we’re not there yet.  But through the power of research we will change the future and Ricoh is committed to showing our support.

Testimonial

Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK: “Dementia Uncovered continues our award-winning awareness campaign by providing a compelling glimpse of what is happening to the brain of someone affected by Alzheimer’s, the most common cause of dementia. It has been fascinating to work with Ricoh and their expertise in 3D printing to bring this idea to life to help improve public understanding, but also to show our ambition to bring an end to the heartbreak dementia causes through life-changing research.”

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