Round the clock monitoring for uninterrupted care
Dr Kiran Kumar Guruswamy Ravindran, Postdoctoral Researcher, UK DRI Care Research & Technology
Project title: Developing Tools for Round-the-Clock Monitoring of Sleep and Vital Signs in Community Dwelling Older Adults Using High Sampling Rate Inertial Measurement Units
To provide effective care to people living with dementia, there is a need for technology that is cost-effective, scalable, and can provide reliable round-the-clock monitoring of sleep, vital signs and behaviour. Current monitoring technologies such as wearable smart watches and contactless devices have limitations that render them unsuitable for use at a population level. In this project, Dr Ravindran aims to develop robust methods and tools that will allow the use of off-the-shelf high sampling rate accelerometers to record vital signs, track activities and identify novel signatures related to sleep.
Predicting dementia risk using medical records
Dr Samaneh Kouchaki, Academic, UK DRI Care Research & Technology
Project title: A feasibility study to evaluate the use of electronic healthcare records for dementia screening
Emerging interventions such as lecanemab for Alzheimer’s are most beneficial if used at an early stage of the disease. However, early detection is difficult using current diagnosis methods. Healthcare information datasets are now routinely collected during visits to primary and secondary care providers. These contain helpful information, which research has shown could potentially detect dementia. However, manual screening is typically unable to handle data for dementia screening due to the volume and complexity of records and shortage of healthcare professionals. This project by Dr Kouchaki will provide a feasibility study by exploring medical records and building machine learning tools to predict the risk of dementia.
Understanding the effects of reduced blood supply in Alzheimer’s
Dr Juraj Koudelka, Research Fellow, UK DRI at Edinburgh
Project title: Examining the effect of astrocytic calcium dysregulation on vascular haemodynamics relevant to early Alzheimer’s disease
Reduced blood supply in the brain occurs early in Alzheimer’s disease and may be responsible for triggering cell death and memory impairment. Blood supply to meet the energy requirement of cells is regulated by a system called neurovascular coupling. A neuron sends a signal to its supporting cell, the astrocyte, to control the dilation and constriction of blood vessels to regulate the amount of blood supply. However, whilst we know that this process is affected in Alzheimer’s disease, the relationship between signals from astrocytes and blood vessels is not well understood. Dr Koudelka’s project will study these processes in a model of Alzheimer’s disease, visualizing astrocytes live and their signals to blood vessels in awake mice, to better understand the early mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease and allow new drug targets to be identified.
Investigating the effects of genetic causes of ALS/FTD on cellular processes
Dr Seoungjun Lee, Postdoctoral Researcher, UK DRI at King’s
Project title: Therapeutic testing on nucleocytoplasmic transport dynamics for DPR-induced C9orf72 FTD/ALS neurotoxicity using super-resolution microscopy
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are neurodegenerative disorders that share overlapping genetic causes and pathologies, frequently caused by mutations in the C9orf72 gene. These mutations cause issues in transporting material inside cells, which disrupts cellular homeostasis, the process that keeps conditions stable within cells. In this project, Dr Lee will investigate the effects of C9orf72 mutations on these cellular functions, to inform future development of therapeutics.
Congratulations to the successful awardees, and we look forward to seeing their progress over the next year.
Read previous news stories to find out about the projects selected for the first, second, third and fourth rounds of the pilot awards programme. UK DRI researchers can stay updated on calls and deadlines for funding rounds via the UK DRI Portal.
Article published: 7 July 2023
Banner image: Shutterstock/Juan Gaertner