An NHS Trust is set to take part in a new study, designed to help treat people with Alzheimer's disease and depression.

The Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust is one of 24 sites across the country that is taking part in the new Pathfinder study, which is set to use a type of therapy that is currently not widely available throughout the UK .

A form of talking therapy named Problem Adaption Therapy will be used to try and help treat individuals who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and have become depressed, with the results set to determine whether the treatment could be used to help patients on the NHS.

“There are few good treatments available for patients with dementia and depression," said Dr Charlotte Allan, a Consultant Psychiatrist in CNTW’s Memory Assessment and Management Service.

"CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) can be helpful but isn’t the best option for everyone and anti-depressants are not always effective.

“By looking at a new psychological talking therapy, we hope to improve the quality of life of the patients we work with.”

The adapted therapy is hoped to decrease the number of negative emotions that are often associated with depression, with examples including a depressed mood, hopelessness, guilt and anxiety and helplessness and the scheme also hopes to promote both pleasurable activities and positive emotions too.

The project has also been backed by local charity Age UK Northumberland, who believe the work will be of great benefit to people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

“This study is a very welcome step forward for people living with Alzheimer’s," said Amy Whyte, Head of Charitable Services for Age UK Northumberland.

"We understand first-hand the impact that an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can have on a persons wellbeing and emotional state and hope that this study is the beginning of some very positive and impactful support for patients and their families."

The study is the first of its kind to have been used by the trust and a number of therapists have completed specialist training associated with the subject.

“Depression in older people is often under-recognised and under-treated," added Dr Allan.

"People might think low mood is inevitable in old age but that’s not correct. There are challenges associated with ageing, but people need to recognise that depression is a very treatable condition.

“The presentation of depression is often different in older people. They might present with physical complaints and say they’re feeling unwell rather than they have a low mood.

"There’s still a difference between generations; lots of older people were not brought up to share their feelings and find depression harder to talk about.”

The use of the adapted therapy is a change of way in which depression in Alzheimer’s is treated as usually it is helped using factors such as medication and Cognitive behavioural therapy.

The trust has 12 people taking part in the study, although there remains places open to join the scheme, with anyone taking part needing to having been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, have depression, and also currently live in their own home.