Since we funded our first research project in 1998, our researchers have been making huge advances in understanding the diseases that cause dementia.
Our scientists were behind the discovery of the TREM2 Alzheimer’s risk gene which links to brain inflammation and build-up of toxic proteins. This discovery has influenced the work of over 8,000 scientists across the world and led to new Alzheimer’s disease drugs in clinical trials.
A study by Prof Jonathan Schott from UCL led to a significant breakthrough in how we diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. The ability to detect levels of the hallmark Alzheimer’s protein, amyloid, in people’s spinal fluid provided a way to detect early changes in healthy older people.
In 2016 Alzheimer’s Research UK supported Public Health England to develop a pilot programme for people over 40 to introduce dementia risk reduction information to people as part of their routine NHS health checks. This is a crucial time point for risk reduction as we know action in midlife could have many beneficial effects in the future.
A team of our researchers from King’s College London found that antipsychotic medication, commonly prescribed to people living with dementia, could worsen symptoms and double the risk of death when used long term. This led to the government pledging to cut the use of antipsychotics by two-thirds.