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Dementia Current Research

Our team includes Neurologists, Psychologists, Researchers and Nurses from both University of Bristol and North Bristol NHS Trust.

We diagnose and treat patients with dementia and also offer clinical research opportunities to people with and without dementia. Our research focuses on early diagnosis of dementia, understanding how memory is stored in the brain and how this can be enhanced and clinical trials of treatment in dementia.

We run one of the only brain health clinical services in the country, seeing people with mild memory problems, and offering precision early diagnosis or exclusion of dementia.  We also offer evidence-based brain health lifestyle advice and access to research which aims to delay the onset of dementia.

For further information about our Dementia research, visit our ReMemBr Group web pages.

Please speak to the person treating you to find out if there is a research study that may be able to help you.

Current studies:

Diagnosing dementia using Fastball neurocognitive assessment

This project will embed Fastball - a promising new technique for diagnosing dementia - in an NHS memory clinic at North Bristol NHS Southmead Hospital, to establish how sensitive and accurate it is.

Project team and partners

This is a collaborative project led by the Department of Psychology, University of Bath in partnership with the University of Bristol, University College London (UCL), Cumulus Neuroscience Ltd., and North Bristol NHS Trust.

For more details see the study website or contact

Project Details

CI: Dr Elizabeth Coulthard, University of Bristol & North Bristol NHS Trust

CI: Dr George Stothart, University of Bath

Planned Start Date: TBC

Planned End Date: TBC

Local Ref: TBC

AHEAD 3-45 Study

A drug trial focusing on those with pre-clinical Alzheimer’s Disease who show evidence of elevated or intermediate amyloid levels. Participants will go through screening procedures that may assess amyloid level, and then take part in a series of assessments over 4 years to track progressions while receiving drug infusions.

Rob a recent participant shares his story about taking part in this research study.

Project Details

PI: Dr Elizabeth Coulthard

Planned End Date: 01 Dec 2023 (recruitment end)

Local Ref: 4895


COmBining memantine and cholinesterase inhibitors in Lewy body dementia Treatment trial

The COBALT Trial aims to find out if adding Memantine to AChEI treatment improves overall health and functioning for people with Lewy Body Dementia (DLB) or Parkinson's Disease Dementia (PDD).
A 150 patients with DLB and 150 patients with PDD, from across the UK will  take part in this trial. Participation will consist of a few visits over 52 weeks to the site for cognitive assessments, telephone follow ups and monitored use of either the placebo or Memantine. 

PI Dr Elizabeth Coulthard

Recruitment end date:01 April 2025

Local Ref: R&D 5195

DREAMS AD Academic Study

An observational study proposing to understand more of the nature, severity and frequency of sleep disturbances that are associated with real-world cognitive decline and to explore relationships between sleep and cognitive change.

Project Details

PI: Dr Elizabeth Coulthard

Planned End Date: Jan 2023 (recruitment end)

Local Ref: 4930

ISAP (Impact of Semaglutide in Amyloid Positivity)

The brain is made up of billions of nerve cells that connect to each other. In Alzheimer’s disease, connections between these cells are lost. This is because proteins called amyloid and tau build up and form abnormal structures called ‘plaques’ and ‘tangles’. Eventually these cause nerve cells die and brain tissue is lost.

A diabetes drug (semaglutide) may offer a new way to delay or prevent nerve cell damage. Studies in animals have shown that drugs of semaglutide’s class (glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists or GLP-1 RAs) protect nerve cells from toxic agents, reduce the Alzheimer’s disease protein build-up and improve the animal’s memory. Studies of these diabetes drugs have also found a 50% reduction in dementia diagnoses in people taking them.  

We are looking for individuals thought to be at risk for Alzheimer’s disease (because of high amyloid protein build-up), but with no diagnosis of dementia and will give them either semaglutide or a dummy pill (placebo) to take for a year. We will assess the effects of semaglutide on AD protein build-up and levels of inflammation in the brain, using a positron emission tomography (PET) head scan at the beginning and end of the study. We will measure levels of AD protein in the blood at each study visit. We will also assess memory and thinking ability using paper and computer-based tests at the beginning, middle and end of the study.

PI Dr Elizabeth Coulthard

Local Ref: 5161

Planned end Date: 30/11/2023


Our research group and others have found links between Alzheimer’s and gum disease. Gum disease occurs when certain bacteria thrive under the gum line causing inflammation and bleeding. There is good evidence these bacteria pass into the bloodstream and speed up, or cause development of other diseases (such as diabetes and heart disease). This study monitors Alzheimer’s patients treated for gum disease for 12 months to see if this also slows their rate of memory loss. We're looking for 50 participants. 

PI: Dr Elizabeth Coulthard

Planned end Date: May 2025

Local Ref: R&D 5319

RESTED Academic Study

Our overarching goal is to refine the treatment of dementia-related sleep and memory impairment. This work will focus on both AD and LBD, together with their prodromal stages of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). The RESTED Programme will invite healthy controls, alongside participants with AD, LBD and DRD to undergo a combination of sleep monitoring at home and specific tests of cognition

Project Details

PI: Dr Elizabeth Coulthard

Planned End Date: Jan 2023 (recruitment end)

Local Ref: 5123

Take Part in Research

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Become one of the thousands of people taking part in research every day within the NHS.

About Research & Development

NBT Researcher

Find out more about our research and how we're working to improve patient care.

Contact Research

Research & Development
North Bristol NHS Trust
Level 3, Learning & Research building
Southmead Hospital
Bristol, BS10 5NB

Telephone: 0117 4149330