antarcticaResearchers from Plymouth University are hoping to use an Antarctic explorer's experiences of extreme physical and mental conditions in their study of dementia.

Antony Jinman, the University’s own explorer-in-residence, will set out on a 730-mile solo expedition to the Geographic South Pole later this month, during which time he will take part in tests to gauge how his exertion and surroundings are impacting on his memory and mental state.

Ian Sherriff, the University’s academic partnerships lead for dementia, said: "Being out on the ice for 60 days is a huge challenge, and it is bound to have an impact on Antony mentally. It may seem far removed from the conditions faced on a daily by people with dementia, but the feelings of isolation and loneliness are probably more similar than you might think.

"Innovative research is key in tackling this terrible condition, and helping us to support and care for people with dementia and their families."

Cognitive software application
The tests have been developed by Dr Stephen Pearson, a clinical psychologist and member of the University’s Dementia Network, who is providing the explorer with a cognitive software application to use during the expedition.

Jinman, who runs the Plymouth-based organisation Education through Expeditions, said: "Being a polar explorer gives you a lot of time to think and an expedition like this is as much about mental preparation as it is about physical preparation.

"It’s great to think that this expedition will not only contribute to the education of young people but will also potentially be helping people of all ages."