Aberdeen scientists have secured funding worth £15,000 from a leading charity to explore the causes of Alzheimer’s disease.
The research team, based at the University of Aberdeen, will use the funding from Alzheimer’s Research UK, to explore the causes of the condition and highlight new targets for treatment.
Dementia affects nearly 70,000 people in Scotland alone and is a condition associated with memory loss, behavioural changes, communication difficulties and problems with day–to-day tasks.
It is caused by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, which damage nerve cells and lead to a breakdown in vital communication in the brain.
At present, treatments only go as far as boosting nerve cell communication and alleviating some symptoms.
No drugs can halt nerve cell damage and rescue brain health.
David Koss, a research fellow at Aberdeen University, said scientists desperately needed to understand the molecular chain of events that leads to nerve cell damage.
His team will use the newly-secured funding to zero in on why nerve cells die in Alzheimer’s disease.
“We needed this funding boost to add some more pieces to the complex puzzle of Alzheimer’s disease,” he said.
“It is only through gaining a clearer picture of the molecular changes that take place in the disease that we’ll be able to slow or stop it in its tracks.”
Researchers will use brain tissue donated to medical science to learn more about how nerve cells die in Alzheimer’s.
It is hoped that finding out more about this process will reveal clues about how to halt cell death and keep the the brain healthy.
Emma O’Brien, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said the charity was committed to funding pioneering research such as this.
She added: “Dementia is an incredibly complex condition, caused by diseases that attack the brain and rob people of memories and independence.
“It is a long road from eureka moment in the laboratory to a drug in the clinic, but by investing in research at every stage of the process, we will find a way to help all those affected by dementia, including 3,000 in Aberdeenshire alone.”