Here you will find useful information regarding key terms used on the website and in dementia research.



ACON – Aberdeen Children of the 1950s, a national population study.

APOε4 – APOE-ε4 is the high risk variant of the APOE gene, the gene most associated with increased risk for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) – Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition and symptoms get worse over time.

Alzheimer’s Scotland – This is a membership orgainsation for Scottish nationals which worls to improve the life of people affected by dementia.

Alzheimer’s Society – Alzheimer’s Society is a membership organisation, which works to improve the quality of life of people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Alzheimer’s Research UK – The UK’s leading research charity aiming to defeat dementia. They focus on prevention, treatment and cure.

Amyloid – Amyloid is a description of proteins which have folded abnormally and then collected together.

Animal models – Animal model is a living, non-human animal used during the research and investigation of human disease, for the purpose of better understanding the disease without the added risk of harming an actual human being during the process.


BDR – A national population study.

Biomarker – Biomarkers (short for biological markers) are biological measures of a biological state. By definition, a biomarker is “a characteristic that is objectively measured and evaluated as an indicator of normal biological processes, pathogenic processes or pharmacological responses to a therapeutic intervention.”

Bioinformatics –  Bioinfomatics is an interdisciplinary field that develops methods and software tools for understanding biological data. As an interdisciplinary field of science, they combine computer science, statistics, mathematics, and engineering to study and process biological data.

Brain ImagingNeuroimaging includes the use of various techniques to either directly or indirectly image the structure, function/pharmacology of the nervous system. It is a relatively new discipline within medicine and neuroscience/psychology.

Brain Scan – Brain scans are sometimes used to help doctors to diagnose dementia. There are several types of brain scan:

  • CT or CAT (computerised axial tomography) scans are a way of taking pictures of the brain using X-rays and a computer
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans create an image of the brain using radio signals produced by the body in response to the effects of a very strong magnet contained within the scanner.
  • SPECT (single photon emission computerised tomography) scans look at the blood flow through the brain, rather than at the structure of the brain.

Brain Tissue Donation – Many people with dementia and their relatives are interested in the possibility of brain donation for research after their death. Donations from people without dementia are equally important to enable comparisons to be made.


CFAS I – Cognitive Function and Ageing Studies I, a national population study.

CFAS II – Cognitive Function and Ageing Studies II, a national population study.

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) – Is a clear, colorless body fluid found in the brain and spine. It is produced in the choroid plexuses of the ventricles of the brain.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) – Is a general term that describes a disease of the heart or blood vessels.

Caerphilly – A national population study.

CamCan – A national population study.

CamPaIGN – A national population study.

Cells – The basic structural, functional, and biological unit of all known living organisms.

Cell differentiation – The process by which a cell changes from one cell type to another.

Cellular models – Involves developing efficient algorithms, data structures, visualization and communication tools to orchestrate the integration of large quantities of biological data.

Cellular level –  The level of cells, the most basic structural units of the human body.

Cerebrovascular – Conditions caused by problems that affect the blood supply to the brain.

Changes in the brain – Dementia occurs when physical changes take place in the brain.

Clinical Record Interactive Search Solution (CRIS) –  Provides authorised researchers with regulated access to a wide range of pseudonymised information.

Chariot – A national population study.

Cognitive Assessment – Primarily involves the use of pencil and paper tasks to assess a wide range of abilities, including attention, memory, problem-solving, language skills and intellectual functioning.

Cognitive Phenotyping – Is a discrete cognitive or behavioral feature.

Cognitive Testing – Are assessments of the cognitive capabilities of humans and other animals.

Cohort – A cohort or national population study refers to a group of Participants who share a common characteristic.

Cohort data – Cohort data means any database or collection of information and/or data obtained from a cohort which is used for research.

Company Partner Forum (CPF) – A group of DPUK pharmaceutical industry partners working together to support the Platform.


DFP – A national population study.

Data – Data refers to the factual records, including but not limited to data or Metadata and which may be in the form of numerical scores, textual records, images and sounds.

Deep and Frequent Phenotyping (DFP) – Deep and Frequent Phenotyping is a workstream within DPUK that will focus on conducting deep and frequent phenotyping research activities.

Data Portal – A single bio-informatics portal, providing a point of access for scientists to store, access and analyse data to assist in dementia research.

Dementia – The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes.

Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) – A type of dementia that shares symptoms with both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. It may account for around 10 per cent of all cases of dementia.

Diamond Lewy – A cohort study.

DPUK – Dementias Platform UK.


Early Onset Dementia – People diagnosed with dementia under the age of 65.

European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia (EPAD) – Aims to develop an infrastructure that efficiently enables the undertaking of adaptive, multi-arm Proof of Concept studies for early and accurate decisions on the ongoing development of drug candidates or drug combinations.

Epidemiological – Is the science that studies the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in defined populations. It is the cornerstone of public health, and informs policy decisions and evidence-based practice by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive healthcare.

ELSA – English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, a national population study.

European Medical Information Framework (EMIF) – The project’s main objective is to create an environment that allows for efficient re-use of existing health data. Within the EMIF-platform topic, research into a broad range of aspects dealing with re-use of health data will be addressed.

EPIC Norfolk – European Prospective Investigation of Cancer Norfolk, a national population study.

Ethnographic study – The systematic study of people and cultures. It is designed to explore cultural phenomena where the researcher observes society from the point of view of the subject of the study.

Executive Team – The Executive Team is the team responsible for developing and managing the implementation of the DPUK programme.

Experimental Medicine workstream – Experimental Medicine workstream is the Workstream that will conduct experimental medicine research and methodological development research relevant to the early detection and treatment of dementia.


FAD – A national population study.

Familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD) – Is a rare autosomal dominant form of Alzheimer’s disease, generally affecting individuals below the age of 60, which results in offspring of affected parents having a 50% chance of developing the disease themselves.

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) – Is a progressive disorder of the brain. It can affect behaviour, language skills and movement.


The Global Alzheimer’s Association Interactive Network (GAAIN) – Is a gateway providing access to a vast collection of Alzheimer’s disease research data.

The Genetic Frontotemporal dementia Initiative (GENFI) – Group of research centres across Europe and Canada with expertise in familial frontotemporal dementia.

Generation Scotland – A national population study.

Genes – Basic physical and functional unit of heredity. Genes, which are made up of DNA, act as instructions to make molecules called proteins.

Genesis – Origin or mode of the formation of something.

Genetic models – Are biological systems which allow the study of genetic phenomena.

Genome – An organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. Each gemone contains all of the information needed to build and maintain that organism.


Human Biological Samples (HBS) – Any human tissue or biological material, including any portion of an organ, any tissue, skin, bone, muscle, connective tissue, blood, cerebrospinal fluid, cells, gametes, or sub-cellular structures such as DNA, or any derivative of such human biological material such as stem cells or cell lines; and any human biological product, including, but not limited to, hair, nail clippings, teeth, urine, faeces, breast milk, and sweat.

Human systematic vascular tone – Refers to the resistance that must be overcome to push blood through the circulatory system and create flow.

Huntington’s Disease – Huntington’s disease is a progressive hereditary disease. The course of the disease varies for each person, and dementia can occur at any stage of the illness. Symptoms of dementia associated with Huntington’s disease include loss of short-term memory and deterioration of planning and organisational.

Hypotheses – Proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation.


ICICLE – A national population study.

EU’s Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) – Europe’s largest public-private initiative aiming to speed up the development of better and safer medicines for patients.

ImagingMedical imaging is the technique and process of creating visual representations of the interior of a body for clinical analysis and medical intervention. Medical imaging seeks to reveal internal structures hidden by the skin and bones, as well as to diagnose and treat disease.

Immune biomarkers – Biological measurements which can be applied to predict risk of disease, to accredit forward detection of disease and to monitor the outcome of therapeutic mediations.

Immunology – Branch of biomedical science that covers the study of all aspects of the immune system in all organisms.

Infrastructure Workstream – The Workstream that will focus on generating infrastructure that supports DPUK activities.

Interval – A national population study.


The EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) – Largest global research initiative aimed at tackling the challenge of neurodegenerative diseases.

Join Dementia Research –  National service that enables you to register your interest in dementia research and be matched with suitable research studies.


Lewy-Dem – A national population study.

Lewy-Pro – A national population study.

Lothian Birth Cohort – A national population study.

LRKK2 – Enzyme and the variants of this gene are associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s Disease and Crohn’s disease.


Metadata – Data that describes other data and provides general and abstract information about the content of items, such as but not limited to Electronic Health Records and Data.

Magnetoencephalography (MEG) – Measuring the magnetic signature of brain activity with millisecond precision.

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) – Term used to describe a condition involving problems with cognitive function (their mental abilities such as thinking, knowing and remembering). People with MCI often have difficulties with day-to-day memory, but such problems are not bad enough to be defined as dementia.

Million Women – A national population study.

Molecular Imaging –  Originated from the field of radiopharmaology due to the need to better understand fundamental molecular pathways inside organisms in a noninvasive manner.

Molecular Pathology – Emerging discipline within pathology which is focused in the study and diagnosis of disease through the examination of molecules within organs, tissues or bodily fluids.

Medical Research Council (MRC) – Improves human health through world-class medical research. We fund research across the biomedical spectrum, from fundamental lab-based science to clinical trials, and in all major disease areas. Our research has resulted in life-changing discoveries for over a hundred years.

MRC-FTLD – A national population study.

MRI Scan (MRI) (magnetic resonance imaging) – Scans create an image of the brain using radio signals produced by the body in response to the effects of a very strong magnet contained within the scanner.


National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) – Originally set up in 1999 as the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, a special health authority, to reduce variation in the availability and quality of NHS treatments and care.

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) –  Is a large, multi-faceted and nationally distributed organisation.

NIMROD – A national population study.

National Health Service (NHS) – One of the world’s largest publicly funded health services in Britain.

NSHD – A national population study from the 1946 birth cohort.

Neurodegenerative – Umbrella term for the progressive loss of structure or function of neurons, including death of neurons.

Neuroinflammatory – Inflammation of the nervous tissue. It may be initiated in response to a variety of cues, including infection, traumatic brain injury, toxic metabolites, or autoimmunity.


The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – is an international economic organisation of 34 countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade.

OPCD – A national population study.

Omics – Neologism omics informally refers to a field of study in biology ending in – omics , such as genomics, proteomics or metabolomics.


PD – A national population study.

PD:2 – A national population study.

Participant – A participant is a (healthy) volunteer or patient who has given (directly or indirectly) their informed written consent to take part in or allow the use of their Cohort Data.

Pathologies – Significant component of the causal study of disease and a major field in modern medicine and diagnosis.

Population cohorts –  Largely about the life histories of segments of populations, and the individual people who constitute these segments.

PET imaging – Positron Emission Tomography is a nuclear medicine, functional imaging technique that produces a three-dimensional image of functional processes in the body.

PICNIC – A national population study.

Parkinson’s Disease – A condition in which part of the brain becomes progressively damaged over many years.

Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) – A form of dementia that shares characteristics with both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. It accounts for around four per cent of all cases of dementia in older people.

Physiology – Scientific study of the normal function in living systems.

Pick’s Disease – Pick’s disease is another term for Frontotemporal Dementia, one of the less common forms of dementia. It is caused by damage to the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.

Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA) – Is a progressive degenerative condition involving the loss and dysfunction of brain cells, particularly at the back (posterior) of the brain.

Prevent – A national population study.


Re-purposing – The process by which an object with one use value is transformed or redeployed as an object with an alternative use value.

Research Environment – An online system helping reserachers collaborate.

Research Tools –  Any and all research methodologies, research assays and other research tools.


SABRE – Southall and Brent Revisited, a national population study.

Small Medium Enterprise (SME) – Business which employs fewer than 250 persons and which has an annual turnover not exceeding (Euro) €50 million.

Strategic Award – Strategic Awards provide flexible forms of support to facilitate research and/or training that is not possible under existing schemes. The aim is to add value to excellent research groups.

Synaptic plasticity – Ability of synapses to strengthen or weaken over time, in response to increases or decreases in their activity.

Steering Group ­- Refers to the group that provides expert scientific advice to the DPUK Executive Team.


Theraputics – The branch of medicine concerned with the treatment of disease and the action of remedial agents.

Track-HD – A national population study.

Treatments – Medical care given to a patient for an illness or injury.



UK Biobank – A national population study.


Vascular Dementia – Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia (after Alzheimer’s disease). In vascular dementia, damage to the brain occurs when there are problems with the supply of blood to the brain.



White matter hyperintensities – Refer to areas of high intensity on types of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the human brain or that of other mammals.

Whitehall 2 – A national population study.

Working Groups – Working Groups are groups established by the Executive Team to undertake a specific tasks or set of tasks for DPUK.

Work Packages (WP) – Means the division of specific Workstream activities into one or more groups of related tasks contributing to the DPUK project.


Young Onset Dementia – People diagnosed with dementia under the age of 65 are often described as ‘younger people with dementia’ by health and social care professionals.

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