A DPUK ECR grant winner's research into the links between our environment and brain health has been used to inform a forthcoming World Health Organisation (WHO) report on healthy ageing.
A DPUK ECR grant winner is setting up a new lab in Australia to investigate the chemical signatures of healthy ageing and dementia.
The New Therapeutics in Alzheimer's Disease study (NTAD) is looking to detect the disease before symptoms show so that research can develop preventative treatments.
Participants in DPUK's existing longitudinal studies, known as cohorts, will be offered the chance to join DPUK's Great Minds register.
Identifying the key factors that allow people to live well – without developing dementia – so we can model successful cognitive ageing.
Better methods cognition
This team is developing the cognitive tests that are instrumental in diagnoses of dementia. Sensitive and accurate tests will enable scientists to diagnose dementia earlier – a key focus in the development of new treatments.
DPUK aims to deliver breakthroughs in dementia research through experimental medicine studies. We both directly fund and enable these studies through our technology infrastructure. In many cases, they will recruit through our clinical studies register.
Thanks to partnerships with two industry companies offering cognitive test technology, DPUK cohorts can now access online or iPad-based software to collect information on their participants' thinking and memory skills. The opportunity allows cohorts to enhance their data and optimise for use in research.
Amyloid is a brain protein which is associated with dementia, but it is difficult and expensive to detect. This team is conducting brain scans on 500 men and women who are already members of a long-term health study. Their extremely valuable data will be used to develop new, more convenient ways of testing for amyloid in the brain.
Better methods Impact
As dementia research is evolving, and as so much of our work is a first for the sector, this team's work looks at the ethical issues arising from DPUK.
Some of the diseases that cause dementia have a genetic element. Looking at familial disease dementia is important because those genetically predisposed to dementia can be analysed for indicators that can then be used to improve our understanding of the other forms of the disease.
Imaging Stem cells
DPUK investment has enabled scientists to study the development of neurodegenerative disease using a type of stem cell derived from the blood samples of cohort study participants. These cells – iPSCs – are an immensely valuable resource that is being shared by research teams.
Impact Stem cells
Facilitated by DPUK, scientists at the University of Oxford are investigating the behaviour of drugs developed by AstraZeneca (AZ) on patient-specific cell models. They are looking to see if they can be used to target a range of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.
Many studies indicate that there may be links between heart health and brain health, and this connection may be a promising new avenue in research and development for treatments for brain diseases. DPUK-funded researchers are using large imaging datasets to look for early indicators of brain changes that show up in other organs too.
This team is developing state-of-the-art methods of predicting dementia risk by looking at the genetic data collected by long-term studies of health.
Scanning 10,000 participants a few years after a baseline scan allows for very informative findings about how our brains change as they get older.
This team is working with the data collected by GPs and hospitals, looking to determine how this can help in scientists' understanding of brain diseases such as dementia.
This team has delved into all the issues surrounding brain donation – a crucial element of many studies into dementia.
This early area of work identified which long-term studies of health – known as 'cohorts' – would be particularly helpful for dementia research, and summarised their information for researchers’ use on the Data Portal.
Uncovering the biological signs of change that are associated with the development of Alzheimer's disease is a crucial part of detecting it at its earliest stages and developing effective treatments.