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Research

Our research focusses on the development of early assessment and intervention strategies targeted at age-associated degenerative conditions. Our two main focuses are on Dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

Dementia

Dementia refers to a progressive loss of cognitive abilities, such that the person has difficulty undertaking routine daily tasks. Dementia can affect a number of functions, such as memory,A picture of someone with dementia reasoning and communication skills.

There are currently 700,000 people in the UK with dementia, and the number of people with this condition will double to 1.4 million in the next 30 years.

Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies are common types of dementia. A greater understanding of the processes underlying nerve cell loss in the different dementia is translating into several exciting and novel therapeutic areas.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease affects 1% of the population over the age of 65, but can also develop in people at a much younger age. Parkinson’s disease leads to problems with tremors, stiffness and slowness

Old age

of movement. It can also be associated with a number of other “non-motor” symptoms, including depression, sleep disturbance and cognitive abilities (including dementia in some cases).

There are effective symptomatic drug treatments available for many aspects of Parkinson’s disease, although there are still many areas of unmet need.

Key researchers include:

Prof. Nicola Pavese. He is Professor of Clinical Neuroscience at NU and Consultant Neurologist at NuTH. He has >30 years of experience in leading a range of experimental medicine and clinical trials in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and other neurodegenerative disorders, including the use of neuroimaging to evaluate the bio-distribution and metabolism of new therapies. He leads an international programme to identify early biomarkers of PD and related movement disorders.

Prof. Lynn Rochester, movement scientist and consultant physiotherapist is an expert in gait impairments and mobility loss in ageing and neurodegeneration, development of mobility biomarkers and using digital health technology for advanced assessment and therapies. She is co-ordinator of a large IMI consortium, MOBILISE-D, and leads the NIHR-INCLUDE project.

Prof. David Burn, NU Pro-Vice Chancellor and Consultant Neurologist, is a world-leading expert in PD, Lewy body dementia and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.

Prof. Avan Sayer, Director of NBRC and Consultant Geriatrician, is a leading expert in sacropenia and ageing syndrome.

Prof. Miles Witham co-leads the Ageing, Sarcopenia and Multimorbidity Theme of the NBRC, and leads many experimental medicine studies and clinical trials in older people testing interventions to prevent and treat sarcopenia, frailty and multiple long-term conditions.

Dr. Alison Yarnall, NBRC Intermediate Clinical Fellow and Consultant in Older People’s Medicine, has expertise in PD, dementia and ageing syndromes.

Dr. David Ledingham is a consultant neurologist specialising in ageing syndromes.