Collaborations between researchers at CDP allow the combination of studies of cognition, MRI, and high-resolution postmortem imaging of human brain. With these experiments, we are learning how changes in synapses, the connections between brain cells, contribute to changes in thinking in healthy ageing and during dementia (Henstridge et al., 2015; Kay et al., 2013).
Ongoing Research Project Highlights
The EPAD project is part of a global effort in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and is a major European initiative to create a novel environment for testing numerous interventions targeted at the prevention of Alzheimer’s dementia. EPAD is a public-private partnership involving 36 organisations, and is led from and started in Edinburgh by Craig Ritchie (Ritchie et al., 2016).
Using a high resolution imaging technique called array tomography (top) and separation of synaptic proteins by size using a biochemical technique called western blotting (bottom), the Spires-Jones lab is investigating how changes in synapses contribute to dementia. By combining studies of human brain samples and mouse and cell models of disease, they aim to find out what goes wrong in the brain during dementia and how to prevent or reverse the damage (Spires-Jones and Hyman, 2014; Koffie et al 2012).
PREVENT is a major Alzheimer’s Society funded UK-wide research project working to discover more about dementia at its earliest stages. The PREVENT team works with volunteers to detect biomarkers of dementia that may appear before any symptoms (Ritchie and Ritchie, 2012). PREVENT will follow up the volunteers to learn more about how dementia progresses and ways of preventing it. PREVENT is a core Dementias Platform UK cohort.