The award is announced in a month when newly-published research from two Scottish universities has provided insight into how brain cells function.
At the moment it is difficult to diagnose Alzheimer’s and often by the time a diagnosis is reached, irreversible damage to the brain has already occurred.
Dr James Dear from the University of Edinburgh, who is leading the research team, said “We are searching for a marker in cerebro-spinal fluid that could be used to diagnose people with Alzheimer’s.
“A reliable, accurate test to identify affected individuals would mean future treatments could be given much earlier when drugs are likely to be most effective. It would also give people with dementia and their families more time to prepare and plan for the future.”
Alzheimer’s Research Trust supporter, Angela Cruickshank, from Edinburgh, added:
“My dad, Andrew Mackenzie, died with Alzheimer’s in 2008 and it was very sad to see him deteriorate over six years as this dreadful disease gradually took away his abilities and independence. The diagnosis came when he was only 67 but Alzheimer’s had already taken a firm hold by then. I’m sure he would have benefited from earlier diagnosis and treatment so I’m heartened to hear that progress is being made with research. It is the only way forward to bring an end to the misery and heartbreak caused by Alzheimer’s to the patient, their family and friends.”
Meanwhile, researchers from the Universities of Dundee, Edinburgh and Sydney published findings in Nature Neuroscience this month that add to our understanding of how nerve cells in the brain work. The researchers found specific proteins in the brain are important for nerve cells to communicate with each other. The research was part-funded by the Alzheimer’s Research Trust.
Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, said:
“We are delighted to be supporting research at leading Universities in Scotland. We are currently funding 13 projects worth over £1.2 million looking for the causes of dementia as well as ways to diagnose and treat it.”
“It is cutting-edge research, such as that taking place in Scotland that will lead us to new dementia treatments. Over 56,000 people in the Scotland have dementia and that number is set to rise as the population ages. We must invest in research now to bring us the answers we need.”