Targeting dopamine to treat impaired memory consolidation in neurodegenerative disease
Our current study examines the role of a brain chemical called dopamine in storing memories overnight. Dopamine is commonly known as the 'reward chemical', but it also affects memory formation and storage, although the exact roles it plays are still being researched. We aim to see how dopamine during sleep affects the storage of different types of memory, and to see whether dopamine could be used to help treat memory problems.
Who can take part?
We are looking for volunteers who:
- are fluent in English;
- are aged 65+;
- do not have a diagnosis of memory impairment or dementia
What will happen if I take part?
If you are willing to take part you will be invited to four visits at the Clinical Research and Imaging Centre (CRIC Bristol) on St Michael’s Hill in Bristol. The first visit is a screening visit during which we ask you about your health to make sure it is safe for you to take part. You will also have a chance to get to know the research facility during this visit. The three other visits are overnight visits during which you will learn memory tasks. Before going to sleep, you will take a single dose of a medication or a placebo, and then your brainwaves will be recorded during sleep using sensors placed on your scalp. On one of the visits we will take a magnetic resonance image (MRI) of your brain. We also ask you to keep a sleep diary for a week before each overnight visit (3 weeks in total).
All our volunteers are given single doses of placebo and two types of medication, which both increase dopamine activity in the brain. We have a lot of experience in prescribing these medications; they are widely used and known to be well-tolerated.
We do not pay our volunteers, but we do cover all expenses. Does this sound like something you would like to do? If so, please get in touch with Hanna Isotalus or Dr Coulthard to find out more.
Dr Elizabeth Coulthard
Ms Hanna Isotalus