Faculty of Medical Sciences

Dementias & Neurodegenerative Diseases

Dementias and Neurodegenerative Diseases (DemaNDs) Research Group

Overview

The DeMANDs Research Group has a 50 year history of world leading research in dementia and neurodegenerative diseases based on clinical cohort studies and brain tissue research from the Newcastle Brain Tissue Resource.  We are integral to the Newcastle NIHR Biomedical Research infrastructure, with world-leading current research in Lewy Body Dementias and Cerebrovascular diseases.   

Major Research Themes

Major Research Themes

The mission of the Dementias and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Group is to promote interdisciplinary research on the major causes of cognitive impairment and dementia in later life with the goal of improving diagnosis and treatment and ultimately preventing such conditions.

Our DemaNDs Research Group is a multidisciplinary, cross-institute group furthering our 50 year outstanding international track record in dementia research in Newcastle.

Our strategy is to continue the development of regionally based cohorts of people at risk of and patients with neurodegenerative and cerebrovascular diseases and to study them throughout their course until death and, whenever appropriate, for brain autopsy.

Research strategy

The goal of our research group is to facilitate interdisciplinary research on neurodegeneration and dementia to improve diagnosis and treatment and ultimately prevent these conditions. We adopt an integrated approach combining clinical, psychological, neuroimaging, neuropathological, genetic, proteomic and neurochemical strategies.

Our strategy is to continue the development of regionally based cohorts of patients with neurodegenerative and cerebrovascular diseases identified at the earliest stages and to study them throughout their course until death and a request, whenever appropriate, for brain autopsy. The Newcastle Brain Tissue Resource provides a major and well-characterised collection of fixed and frozen post-mortem material which benefits from these studies as well as from other donations through the national Brains for Dementia Research (BDR) initiative.

We also study healthy normal elders both as control subjects and to assist investigation of biological and psychosocial aspects of healthy ageing.

Impact and engagement

Brain ageing and dementia research in Newcastle has a 50 year track record of international excellence and achievement with early studies, i) reporting Alzheimer's disease to be the most common cause of dementia in old age; ii) describing deficits in cholinergic neurotransmission as a key basis for cognitive impairment; iii) identifying dementia with Lewy bodies as the second most common cause of degenerative dementia.

Members of the Dementias and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Group include key leaders in their respective fields who direct international research consortia and collaborative research initiatives on vascular cognitive impairment and Lewy body disorders. Members of the Group have been appointed to direct the UK Department of Health Clinical Research Network Co-ordinating Centres for Dementias and Neurodegenerative Diseases.

We also have been awarded funding for an MRC Centre in Brain Ageing and Frailty and funding from MRC and ABBUK to support the Newcastle Brain Tissue Resource (NBTR, “brain bank”). These together with the Clinical Ageing Research Unit (CARU) form key infrastructure for DemaNDs patient based translational research studies. Research from the DemaNDs group was central to the recent successful renewal of the funding for the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre.

Expertise

Theme leader

Professor Alan Thomas

Tracy Alder
NBTR Technician

Email:
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1212

Dr Louise Allan
Clinical Senior Lecturer/ Consultant

Email:
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1336

Professor Johannes Attems
Professor of Neuropathology, Honorary Consultant Pathologist

Email:
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1217

Dr Robert Barber
Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer

Email:
Telephone: 0191 208 8776 (PA)

Professor Andrew Blamire
Deputy Dean of Translational Research & Professor of Magnetic Resonance Physics

Email:
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1153

Professor David Burn
Pro-Vice Chancellor (Medical Sciences)

Email:
Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 7003

Dr Peter Gallagher
Lecturer in Neuropsychology

Email:
Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 7166

Professor Carol Jagger
AXA Prof of Epidemiology of Ageing

Email:
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1117

Professor Raj Kalaria
Professor of Cerebrovascular Pathology (Neuropathology)

Email:
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 248 1352

Email:
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5729

Debbie Lett
NBTR Manager

Email:
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1231

Professor Ian McKeith
Professor of Old Age Psychiatry

Email:
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1312

Dr Christopher Morris
Senior Lecturer

Email:
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5827

Professor John O'Brien
Strategic Research Adviser


Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1313

Dr Tuomo Polvikoski
Clinical Senior Lecturer/Consultant

Professor Lynn Rochester
Professor of Human Movement Science and Director of Clinical Ageing Research Unit

Email:
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1291

Dr John-Paul Taylor
Clinical Senior Lecturer/Consultant

Email:

Professor Alan Thomas
Professor of Old Age Psychiatry

Email:

Professor Doug Turnbull
Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre

Dr Emma Vardy
Clinical Senior Lecturer/Consultant