The world's first national network for brain imaging
Diagnosing and treating degenerative brain diseases at the point you see symptoms is too late. Scientists need ways of identifying dementia much earlier. For the first time, we are picturing the earliest signs of dementia, and we're able to track them. This is a fundamental step on the path to effective treatment.
Clinical studies start with brain imaging
This study will use a highly-advanced imaging technique – simultaneous MR-PET scanning – to allow scientists to model in detail the early stages of Alzheimer's disease and subsequent dementia. By also using data from existing health study participants they'll be able to draw parallels with other changes that occur early on in the disease.
How does dementia begin? What exactly is the process of deterioration that happens in the brain cells? Researchers need to know a lot more detail about the cell-scale changes that take place when dementia takes hold so that when it comes to clinical trials, they know whether the treatments they develop are working or not. For the first time they're using PET scanning to look inside the cell.
All volunteers in dementia research are crucial, but it's the existing longterm health study volunteers who are especially valuable. Why? Only these people have the historical data that can tell us about the early signs of brain disease.
Scientists need ‘statistical power’ to get reliable insights in to early stage dementia. Put simply, this means a critical mass of data to run their studies. But how to do this when the number of participants in the existing studies – the studies that tell us about the early development of brain disease – are so few? Creating a shared pool of comparable data is the answer. Scientists need to be able to use each other’s data. Not only is this more cost effective, it also saves time and it allows more researchers – researchers all over the world – to tackle the critical questions.
Supporting sharing and collaboration
High-quality imaging tracks the beginnings of dementia in the brain – before symptoms show
Building the foundation of clinical trials for dementia
With relatively few health study participants with enough long-term records to tell us about early stage dementia, it's vital that scientists UK-wide make best use of the immensely valuable data in existing cohorts. Networked scanning technology makes this possible.