The following case studies highlight recent research and demonstrate the impact of our work:
CASE STUDY 1
The Brain Health Centre –research and clinical services
Great strides have been made in recent years into researching better methods for the diagnosis and treatment of dementia and other mental and cognitive health disorders. Frustratingly, though, many of these research breakthroughs have been slow to enter the clinical environment and reach patients. The Brain Health Centre (BHC) has been established to bridge this gap by combining research and clinical services. This approach will provide patients with more accurate assessments, better access to research opportunities and, ultimately, better diagnoses, treatments and care.
CASE STUDY 2
Accelerating the development of more effective antidepressants
Depression may be common but its symptoms can be severe and distressing and can profoundly affect people’s ability to sleep, eat, work and deal with life’s daily demands. Around a third of patients with depression do not respond to today’s antidepressant drugs. In conjunction with Johnson & Johnson a new, cognitive approach to assessing the effectiveness of experimental drugs based on a stress test is being trialed. This is a unique study with the potential to accelerate the development and introduction of more effective, next-generation antidepressants.
CASE STUDY 3
A new approach to measuring memory in people at high risk of Alzheimers
Although memory loss is often thought of as a key symptom of Alzheimer’s, the brain’s ability to compensate for neuronal loss means that it is very often a late indicator and a significant amount of damage has already been done. This study combines trusted laboratory techniques and innovative cognitive testing to discern potential underlying changes in memory performance at an earlier stage in healthy people who are at a greater genetic risk of developing the disease.
CASE STUDY 4
Breakthrough research to better diagnose and treat psychosis patients
Psychosis can be a symptom of many different mental health problems and can have causes including physical or emotional trauma, genetic inheritance or the use of alcohol, drugs or medications. The word psychosis describes a range of conditions that affect the mind, and where patients characteristically exhibit some loss of contact with reality, such as hallucinations or delusions. To date our understanding of psychosis has looked at symptoms, not causes, and has failed to develop reliable diagnostic tests for those patients whose symptoms don’t respond to conventional treatments. New research has shown that a percentage of psychosis patients have the same antibodies as people with the inflammatory brain disease, encephalitis and respond well when those antibodies are removed. This research, in combination with a unique, multi-disciplinary trial, is successfully revealing the huge potential of this new approach to successfully treat some psychosis patients with immunotherapy.
CASE STUDY 5
How, why, and when cardiovascular risk factors impact brain health
It is well known that lifestyle and genetic factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity and diabetes play a key role in the development of both heart disease and dementia. But the link is not fully understood and there is no precise understanding of how, why and when cardiovascular risks begin to adversely affect brain health. The Heart-Brain Study, led by Sana Suri at the Oxford Centre for Human Brain Activity, is applying unique investigative techniques in order to better understand the heart-brain link in dementia and optimise cardiovascular interventions to delay or prevent its onset.
CASE STUDY 6
A new approach to matching patients to the right antidepressants
Currently, the best way to see whether or not a patient is receiving the right antidepressant medication is simply to wait and see if it works. However as these medications are typically effective in no more than 30% of cases, this can often result in an inefficient, ‘trial and error’ approach that takes time and money and leaves many patients waiting too long to find the right answer. This new study, based on original research, is testing whether there might be a more efficient way to prescribe antidepressant treatments: one that takes much less time and delivers greatly improved outcomes for patients.