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Ultrasensitive blood test set to transform detection of brain damage and poor prognosis after head injury

A new study led by Prof David Sharp, Centre Director at UK DRI Care Research & Technology, has used a state-of-the-art blood test to track damage to the brain in people who have sustained traumatic brain injury (TBI). Measuring the protein biomarker in the blood will provide a simpler, more accurate way to predict clinical outcomes and may help to identify those at higher risk of developing dementia.

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The great wall: targeting the blood-brain barrier in dementia

A growing area of research interest is in the specialised blood vessel network surrounding the brain, the blood-brain barrier, whose dysfunction and breakdown is thought to be one of the earliest events in several neurodegenerative diseases. To build a better understanding and explore opportunities for treatments in this area, Director at the UK DRI’s Centre at the University of Edinburgh, Prof Giles Hardingham is taking an integrated approach, bringing together specialist researchers and clinicians, and answering major questions at the intersection between our nervous, vascular and immune systems.

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Dr Axel Montagne receives SCOR Young European Researcher Prize for research into Alzheimer’s disease

Dr Axel Montagne, Group Leader at UK DRI at Edinburgh, has been awarded this year’s SCOR Young European Researcher Prize from Fondation Recherche Alzheimer based in France. We caught up with Axel to find out more about what receiving the prize means to him, his experiences of joining the UK DRI last year and his research into dysfunction of the blood-brain barrier.

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“We need to get ahead of dementia”: UK DRI Director Bart De Strooper on World Alzheimer’s Day 2021

This World Alzheimer's Day, UK DRI Director Prof Bart De Strooper, reflects on what is needed to get ahead of dementia, developing cutting-edge diagnostics and groundbreaking discovery research to feed the pipeline for new treatments.

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New Race Against Dementia Fellows recognised as UK DRI Emerging Leaders

This World Alzheimer’s Day (21 September), we are delighted to announce two new Emerging Leaders at the UK DRI: Dr Wioleta Zelek (UK DRI at Cardiff) and Dr Aitana Sogorb-Esteve (UK DRI at UCL). Both have been awarded prestigious Race Against Dementia (RAD) Fellowships and join the 11 Emerging Leaders announced earlier in the year.

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UK DRI technology platforms: taking discoveries to the next level

Advances in technology help drive scientific discoveries. To enable researchers to investigate neurodegeneration and dementia in new ways, the UK DRI has established the ‘Proteomics’ and ‘Single Cell and Spatial Transcriptomics’ technology platforms. These provide researchers with access to specialist equipment for studying protein and gene expression patterns at an unprecedented level of detail.

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Researchers identify neuroprotective protein in Parkinson’s disease

In a new study published today (14 Sept) in Cell Reports, researchers have shown that the protein BCL11A plays a neuroprotective role in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease. The team, led by Prof Sandra Blaess from the Institute for Reconstructive Neurology at the University Hospital Bonn, and involving Dr Emmanouil Metzakopian from the UK DRI at Cambridge, believe the finding could open up avenues for new Parkinson’s treatments.

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Next generation sequencing pioneers awarded prestigious Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences

Prof Sir David Klenerman, UK DRI Group Leader at Cambridge, and Prof Sir Shankar Balasubramanian have been awarded the 2022 Breakthrough Prize for their development of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). The groundbreaking technology significantly reduced the time and cost associated with sequencing a human genome, revolutionising modern research and medicine.

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MRC awards £1.5 million for project examining genes in Alzheimer’s disease

The Medical Research Council (MRC) has awarded £1.5 million to fund research into gene expression associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Led by Prof Jonathan Mill (University of Exeter), in collaboration with UK DRI Emerging Leader, Dr Sarah Marzi (UK DRI at Imperial), and researchers from the Universities of Essex and Bristol, the team will investigate changes between different brain cell types, to better understand disease mechanism and uncover new treatment opportunities.

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“Fuelling the Moonshot”: MPs call for ten years of UK DRI funding

The UK DRI welcomes the new Parliamentary report, “Fuelling the Moonshot”, which calls on the Government to confirm funding for the UK DRI for the next ten years. The report makes a case for how the Government’s promised ‘Dementia Moonshot’ funding should be spent to best support research into dementia and neurodegeneration.

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Community Makers: providing online support to communities of people living with dementia

The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns had a huge impact around the world, forcing many people into isolation. For those living with dementia and their carers, this was especially difficult as many had relied on in-person community groups to meet up with others. To help those with dementia stay connected at this time, the Community Makers project was established to support groups transitioning online with resources such as technical advice and monthly forums.

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New EPSRC award for UK DRI to develop non-invasive deep brain stimulation technology

A team of researchers, led by Group Leader Dr Nir Grossman, UK DRI at Imperial College London, have been awarded a Transformative Healthcare Technologies Award from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). These funds will help with development and testing of non-invasive electrical deep brain stimulation technology, a potentially new and innovative way to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

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World Alzheimer’s Month 2021 at the UK DRI

September is World Alzheimer’s Month, a chance to shine a spotlight on this devastating condition and other neurodegenerative diseases that lead to dementia. Throughout the month, we’ll be highlighting the ground-breaking research and initiatives being undertaken by dementia scientists, discovering how they’re uncovering more about the fundamental causes and, most importantly, unlocking the knowledge to develop much-needed treatments.

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#WhyWeResearch: Help us celebrate dementia research this World Alzheimer’s Day

September 2021 marks the 10th year of World Alzheimer’s Month – an international campaign co-ordinated by Alzheimer’s Disease International to raise awareness around the diseases that cause dementia. This year, we want to shine a spotlight on all the brilliant research taking place across the UK and learn a bit more about the people behind it.

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UK DRI at Cambridge and UCL unite to find new therapeutic avenues for Huntington's disease

A new mechanism that stops the progression of Huntington’s disease in cells has been identified by researchers working together from two UK DRI Centres at UCL and Cambridge. Researchers say the breakthrough study, published in Cell Reports, could lead to much needed therapies for the rare genetic disease, which is currently incurable.

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Cognitive deficits observed following Covid-19 infection

Published in the scientific journal EClinicalMedicine, the study involving over 80,000 individuals provides evidence of acute problems with thinking and attention in people who have recovered from Covid-19. Supported by the UK DRI and led by Dr Adam Hampshire, UK DRI Associate member based at Imperial College London, the findings suggest more severe Covid-19 symptoms lead to lower scores achieved on a series of online tests, with performance on reasoning and problem-solving tasks being most affected.

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Weakening connections: new molecular mechanism discovered behind loss of synapses during neurodegenerative disease

A team of researchers led by Prof Kei Cho, Group Leader from UK DRI at King’s, has uncovered a new molecular mechanism behind the weakening of synapses and neuronal dysfunction in tauopathies. The findings, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, provide new insight into the cascade of pathological events initiated by harmful tau hyperphosphorylation, and point to possible new treatments for several neurodegenerative diseases.

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Supporting people living with rare dementias: in conversation with Prof Nick Fox

Whilst the most common diseases that cause dementia, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, are well recognised, there is less recognition of, and support for, rare dementias. Prof Nick Fox, director of the Dementia Research Centre and UK DRI Group Leader at UCL, talks to us about the challenges faced by people living with rare dementias, the importance of Rare Dementia Support and the future of research into these conditions.

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Professional rugby may be associated with changes in brain structure

A new study shows that participation in elite adult rugby may be associated with changes in brain structure. The research was published today (22 July 2021) in Brain Communications, by senior author Prof David Sharp, Centre Director of UK DRI Care Research & Technology, and colleagues at Imperial and UCL.

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Largest study to date measures impact of pandemic and first lockdown on mental health and wellbeing in UK

The largest study of its kind ever conducted on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown in the UK reveals wide-ranging positive and negative effects on the population’s mental health and wellbeing. Published today (16 July) in Nature Communications, the findings help identify those that may be most at risk, and benefits that could be carried forward as the country emerges from the pandemic.

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Latest tweets from @UKDRI

RT @AshwinVV: Widespread cell stress and mitochondrial dysfunction occur in patients with early Alzheimer's Disease 🎉Delighted to share ou…
18 Aug 2022 08:41

RT @imperialcollege: 🧠 Early warning signs that could help spot #AlzheimersDisease earlier and develop new drugs have been uncovered by #Ou
18 Aug 2022 08:13