Research Projects

Using data from brain donations to investigate the impact of multiple underlying causes of dementia

Alan Thomas

Awarded to:
Prof Alan Thomas

Current award:

University of Newcastle

1 September 2019 - 1 September 2022

Full project name:

Understanding the Contributions of Multiple Pathologies to Dementia in the BDR Programme






Dementia is caused by a number of diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, and vascular dementia.

Scientists can only conclusively determine which diseases caused a person’s symptoms by looking at the brain after they have died.

The different diseases that cause dementia have different hallmark brain changes.

When studying the brains of people who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, scientists often find the hallmarks of other dementia causing diseases, as well as the proteins associated with Alzheimer’s.

In this pioneering PhD project, Prof Alan Thomas' PhD student will use information from the Brains for Dementia Research Programme to find out which disease combinations lead to a more rapid decline of memory and thinking skills.

What will they do?

Under the supervision of Prof Alan Thomas and with the support of his colleagues at the university, a PhD student will use data from the Brains for Dementia Research Programme to look at the relationship between the results of clinical tests and the different diseases that cause dementia.

They will be using a range of sophisticated statistical methods to investigate which diseases and disease combinations have larger effects on cognitive decline and mood.

The PhD student will also investigate the impact of disease location in the brain, and the significance of the hallmark proteins.

This project will increase our understanding of how the different diseases interact to cause the decline of thinking skills associated with dementia.

This knowledge is crucial for scientists conducting future drug trials.

Help us fund more projects like this one

Dementia is one of the world’s greatest challenges. It steals lives and leaves millions heartbroken. But we can change the future.