A specific gene expression pattern maps out which parts of the brain are most vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease, decades before symptoms appear, and helps define the molecular origins of the disease.
The UK has seen a 20% fall in the incidence of dementia over the past two decades, according to new research from England, led by the University of Cambridge, leading to an estimated 40,000 fewer cases of dementia than previously predicted. However, the study, published today in Nature Communications, suggests that the dramatic change has been observed mainly in men.
An approved anti-cancer drug successfully targets the first step in the toxic chain reaction that leads to Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting that treatments may be found to lower the risk of developing the neurodegenerative condition.
Scientists at the University of Cambridge have identified a new property of essential proteins which, when it malfunctions, can cause the build up, or ‘aggregation’, of misshaped proteins and lead to serious diseases.
The number of people with dementia – both new cases and total numbers with the disease – appears to be stabilising in some Western European countries despite populations ageing, in direct contrast to the ‘dementia epidemic’ reported in some recent studies. Professor Carol Brayne and Yu-tzu Wu from the Cambridge Institute of Public Health explore what this means.
Restoring the low levels of the chemical serotonin may help improve brain function and reduce impulsivity in some dementia patients, according to Cambridge researchers. A study published in the July edition of the journal Brain suggests a potential new treatment for people affected by frontotemporal dementia.
Alzheimer’s Research UK, the world’s largest dedicated dementia research charity, has announced a £30 million Drug Discovery Alliance, launching three flagship Drug Discovery Institutes at the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and UCL (University College London). The Drug Discovery Institutes will see 90 new research scientists employed in state-of-the-art facilities to fast-track the development of new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
A partnership led by the Medical Research Council (MRC) has awarded the University of Cambridge £25 million to provide cutting-edge equipment and infrastructure for its clinical research, from imaging single disease cells through to improved targeting of treatments for patients.
A third of Alzheimer’s disease cases worldwide can be attributed to risk factors that can be potentially modified, such as lack of education and physical inactivity, according to NIHR-funded research published in The Lancet Neurology today.
A US Congressional delegation on ageing and dementia policy visited the University of Cambridge this week to hear about UK research into one of the biggest healthcare challenges facing both the UK and US.