Alzheimer’s Research UK welcomes international research funding for UK study

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By Ed Pinches | Friday 15 November 2019

Today the US-based charity Alzheimer’s Association announces a $7 million dollar grant to allow UCL researchers to carry out detailed assessments of individuals from the 1946 birth cohort. This expands the important work of the Insight 46 project, originally funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK.

What is Insight 46?

The original Insight 46 study, funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK,  Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation, the Medical Research Council (MRC) Dementias Platform UK and the Wolfson Foundation follows a group of people born in the same week in March 1946 with the aim of understanding the factors throughout life that impact brain health and dementia.

The study carried out at UCL and led by Prof Jon Schott, Alzheimer’s Research UK’s new Chief Medical Officer, originally involved 500 members of a life-long cohort study called the Medical Research Council (MRC) National Survey of Health and Development. All members of this cohort have been followed throughout life to look at the factors influencing their life-long health and Insight 46 kicked off as they were approaching their 70th birthdays.

The original funding from Alzheimer’s Research UK allowed 500 study members to take part in a state-of-the-art brain imaging study led by a team of expert clinicians, epidemiologists, statisticians, geneticists and brain imaging experts at the UCL Dementia Research Centre in London.

Last month the Insight 46 study made the news when the team revealed that tests of memory and thinking skills as early as age eight could predict cognitive ability at the age of 70.

What does this new funding allow?

A $7 million grant from the US Alzheimer’s Association will now allow the team of researchers from UCL to carry out further detailed assessments of volunteers from the 1946 birth cohort and expand the important work of the Insight 46 project.

This will be a five-year project and will include memory and thinking tests, brain scans and other health assessments.

The researchers will use the funding to recruit a further 500 cohort members into the study and bring back 250 participants from the original Insight 46 study. All volunteers in the new study will receive the same assessments, as well as a brain scan that identifies a key Alzheimer’s protein called tau.

What our Chief Executive said

Ian Wilson, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“Insight 46 continues to provide new understanding of the risk factors for dementia, discoveries that have been made possible by Alzheimer’s Research UK’s dedicated supporters.

“It’s fantastic that the Insight 46 project has helped to attract this new funding, which allows the team to continue working with this unique group of life-long research participants as they help to shed more light on dementia and the ageing brain.”

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Ed Pinches