£425k awarded for major study of vascular dementia at Frenchay Hospital

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Two grants have been awarded to the University of Bristol Dementia Research Group, based at Frenchay Hospital, for a major study to help clinicians understand more about vascular dementia.

The announcement of the grants coincides with World Alzheimer’s Day on September 21.

In some patients, high blood pressure and strokes cause brain damage that can lead to dementia.

At present, there is only a limited understanding of the extent to which this type of dementia (vascular dementia) occurs.

This is partly because of disagreement as to how to categorise and diagnose vascular dementia, and partly because current techniques for measuring the contribution of high blood pressure and strokes to dementia are relatively crude and inaccurate.

The University of Bristol Dementia Research Group have  been awarded almost £200,000 from the Alzheimer's Society and a further £225,000 jointly funded from the Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's Research Trust.

This funding will be used for:

A series of studies to address the lack of consensus on categorising and diagnosing vascular dementia.

To develop new methods for measuring the molecular changes in the brain in vascular dementia.

Serve as a national centre of expertise for the assessment of vascular dementia in brains donated for research into this condition.

Collectively these grants and the projects they allow the Bristol group to undertake will provide a much needed boost to research into this form of dementia, which is thought to affect over 300,000 people in the UK at present, and should help in the development of new forms of treatment.

Professor Seth Love, one of the lead investigators on both grants, said: “This level of investment in us by both the Alzheimer’s Society and the Alzheimer’s Research Trust is hugely encouraging and shows that our work on dementia in Bristol is recognised and valued by our peers.”

Dr Patrick Kehoe, the other lead investigator, added: “This is an exciting time for our group with such a level of trust being placed upon us to push the boundaries of research into vascular dementia research both on a national and international scale.

“We hope that our work will make a real difference to how people are treated in the future and that we will have put to rest some of the current stumbling blocks that have delayed clinical trials of possible treatments for this terrible condition.”