Chris Fox is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry in the Norwich Medical School, UEA. His main areas of work are in ageing brain care, improving memory and cognitive decline, and researching the side effects of certain medicines on the brain. His current research focuses on enhancing care for patients with established dementia and improving early intervention and prevention strategies for dementia. He examines the care systems for dementia, medical interventions and e-health support. He has led several multi-hospital studies – including an analysis of predictors of dementia across 39 UK hospitals.
Chris has had global media interest for his work on common medication use and brain health. This is a study looking at how sleeping medications and other common drugs affect older people, specifically their impact on cognitive decline and dementia. Findings from the study are informing methods of prescribing, based on the principles of patient-centred care. The study looks at the effects of medication with anticholinergic effects (used to treat diseases like incontinence, depression and sleep disorders), benzodiazepines (a class of medications used for sleep and anxiety, including familiar names such as Valium and Xanax) and other sleeping medications.
Before his research career, Chris spent 11 years in military psychiatry – working on the mental health of armed force members serving internationally.
Areas of Expertise (6)
Ageing Brain Care
MRC Bursary - How to be a good chief investigator training
Mental Health Research Network UK 2009 best poster award
Presidential award best clinical trial American Geriatric Society meeting
Imperial College, University of London: M.D. 2011
Media Appearances (5)
‘It’s given us our mum back’ - medical trial helps Norwich woman to reduce agitation caused by dementia
Eastern Daily Press online
The trial is led nationally by the University of Sussex, with local leadership from Professor Chris Fox at the University of East Anglia in conjunction with the research team at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
Sleeping 8 hours a night is the secret to anti-ageing
Country Living online
Speaking to Mail Online, Professor Chris Fox, a senior lecturer in old age psychiatry at the University of East Anglia, said: “The brain is processing and filing memories away from the day while we are asleep and clearing away toxins. If these toxins are not cleared, this can lead to inflammation in the body. Although inflammation is generally a beneficial response to tissue damage or infection, when it is extensive or prolonged, it can harm healthy tissues and disrupt normal cellular function.
Dementia patients at risk of bone fractures when taking Z-drugs
Health Europa online
Lead researcher Professor Chris Fox, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “Around half of people with dementia have trouble sleeping, wake often and wander during the night. This can greatly affect their quality of life and that of the people who care for them. “Z-drugs are commonly prescribed to help treat insomnia but it is thought that they may cause increased confusion and other problems such as falls and fractures.
Sleeping Pills May Be Poor Choice for Dementia Patients
Health Day online
"Around half of people with dementia have trouble sleeping, wake often and wander during the night. This can greatly affect their quality of life and that of the people who care for them," explained lead researcher Chris Fox, from Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia in Great Britain.
Norwich: UEA experts lead new research into dementia treatment
ITV News online
Dr Chris Fox from the university is leading a five-year study which began last year. When completed, it could set guidelines for training staff as well as giving patients and their families a clearer idea of what care to expect.
Contamination in complex healthcare trials: the falls in care homes (FinCH) study experienceBMC Medical Research Methodology
2020 Trials are at risk of contamination bias which can occur when participants in the control group are inadvertently exposed to the intervention. This is a particular risk in rehabilitation studies where it is easy for trial interventions to be either intentionally or inadvertently adopted in control settings.
MEDREV (pharmacy-health psychology intervention in people living with dementia with behaviour that challenges): the feasibility of measuring clinical outcomes and costs of the interventionBMC Health Services Research
2020 People living with dementia in care homes frequently exhibit “behaviour that challenges”. Anti-psychotics are used to treat such behaviour, but are associated with significant morbidity. This study researched the feasibility of conducting a trial of a full clinical medication review for care home residents with behaviour that challenges, combined with staff training.
Anticholinergic drugs and incident dementia, mild cognitive impairment and cognitive decline: a meta-analysisAge and Ageing
2020 We identified studies published between January 2002 and April 2018 with ≥12 weeks follow-up between strongly anticholinergic drug exposure and the study outcome measurement.
Putting primary prevention of dementia on everybody’s agendaAging & Mental Health
2020 Many publications on dementia start by outlining the current estimated number of people with dementia and how that figure is going to double (in Western societies) or even quadruple (in developing countries) in the coming decades as a result of increasing life expectancy (in itself a good development). Dementia is therefore a huge challenge to society, both in terms of providing good care for persons living with dementia and their family caregivers, as well as in searching for curative solutions.
Making body work sequences visible: an ethnographic study of acute orthopaedic hospital wardsSociology of Health & Illness
2020 Within health and social care, academic attention is increasingly paid to understanding the nature and centrality of body work. Relatively little is known about how and where body work specifically fits into the wider work relations that produce it in healthcare settings.