Faculty of Medical Sciences

Staff Profile

Professor Alan Thomas

Professor of Old Age Psychiatry

Background

Present Appointment

Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at Newcastle University and Honorary Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust

 

Other Appointments

Clinical Director for Research and Development, Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust

Clinical Lead for Brains for Dementia Research Programme

Clinical Director of the Newcastle Human Brain Tissue Resource, Newcastle University

Academic Representative on Northern Region School of Psychiatry Board

Research

Main Research Interests:

 

i) Clinical studies in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)

We are also running a prospective study of early symptoms and biomarkers of DLB (Newcastle LewyPro Study) and developing clinical instruments for improving the detection and assessment of key features of DLB and will be examining their utility in standard NHS settings

We are also developing clinical instruments to improve the diagnosis and management of DLB funded by an NIHR Programme Grant (DIAMOND Lewy)

ii) Clinical studies on imaging and cognition in depression

We are extending our neuroimaging investigations in late-life depression using multimodal imaging techniques, in particular examining the role of white matter disease. A novel treatment study will investigate whether modifying vascular disease can improve outcome in late-life depression

iii) The neuropathology of late-life depression

I continue with neuropathological studies in depression utilising our brain tissue from the Newcastle ‘Brain Bank’ and applying stereological and microarray techniques to explore the impact of vascular and inflammatory brain disease in late-life depression

iv) Brain Bank Studies in dementia with Lewy Bodies 

Within our NIHR BRU in Lewy Body Dementia we are conducting a series of related studies examining different components of the visual pathway in human brain tissue in order to identify molecular abnormalities that underpin visual hallucinations in DLB.

Teaching

Medical Students: I teach formally in seminars and informally in clinical settings and am an OSCE and MOSLER examiner in finals examinations

 

Postgraduate: I teach and examine on the MRes Course (Module: Ageing and Health) and run a module (Introduction to Psychiatry) on the regional MRCPsych Course and teach lectures on this module, on the psychopharmacology of anti-dementia drugs (Neuroscience and Pharmacology Module) and on Vascular Dementia (on the Old Age Psychiatry module).

 

External: I lecture on the British Association of Psychopharmacology module on Old Age Psychiatry on the Management of Mood Disorders. 

Publications