Clare Mackay, Professor of Imaging Neuroscience and Masud Husain, Professor of Neurology and Cognitive Neuroscience are senior researchers at the National Institute for Health Research’s Biomedical Research Centres in Oxford. In this accessible and informative public talk they will explore the latest research into the debilitating neurodegenerative disorders Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. They will show how cutting edge research is: increasing our knowledge of the mechanisms causing these disorders, offering the prospect of earlier diagnosis and supporting the development of potential new therapies to slow the progression of the disease.
Professor Simon Lovestone, Informatics and Digital Health theme lead at the NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre, is cycling down to Buckingham palace tomorrow (07/12) to receive a knighthood for services to neuroscience research. He chose the unusual mode of transportation because he is raising funds for the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, by cycling 300 miles over three months.
Earlier this year, Professor Lovestone was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday honours, and he will be formally receiving the knighthood from a member of the Royal family tomorrow at Buckingham Palace.
Professor Lovestone and his colleagues at the NIHR Oxford Health BRC are aiming to cycle 300 miles apiece over 3 months, as part of the Alzheimer’s Research UK’s ‘Cycling Down Dementia’ fundraising challenge. The charity specialises in finding ways to prevent, treat and cure dementia, and relies on donations to fund vital dementia research.
Professor Lovestone says:
“My research group and I spend all our working lives chasing down dementia – trying to understand this dreadful disease and find treatments to prevent it. So Cycling Down Dementia is a real pleasure and we are delighted to be helping to raise funds for research being done by brilliant scientists all over the UK. I am humbled by being honoured in this way. In truth it is a measure of the good fortune I have had to have had inspiring teachers and wonderful students and to have had the privilege to work together with outstanding scientists in Oxford, across the UK and indeed the world has been the most rewarding gift imaginable. I shall be thinking of those I have known, relatives and patients, with dementia as I kneel tomorrow.”
Donations can be made at https://cycling-down-dementia-the-pioneer-challenge-300-miles.everydayhero.com/uk/simon-s-chasing-dementia, and people can sign up for their own Cycling Down dementia challenge at www.cyclingdowndementia.org.
“It is very rare to find signs of full-blown Alzheimer’s Disease in non-human brains,” said Professor Lovestone, who is a researcher within the Oxford University Department of Psychiatry and is the Informatics / Digital Health theme lead at the NIHR Oxford Health BRC. “This is the first time anyone has found such clear evidence of the protein plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer’s Disease in the brain of a wild animal.”
Like humans, dolphins are almost unique in living long after they are capable of having children. Most animals tend to die shortly after the end of their fertile years.
In a study published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia, researchers tested the idea that living long after the end of fertility might be linked to Alzheimer’s Disease.
The team (which included scientists from the Universities of St. Andrews, Edinburgh, Florida, and Oxford) found signs of Alzheimer’s Disease in the brains of dolphins which had died after washing up ashore on the Spanish coast.
The team think that humans and dolphins are near-uniquely susceptible to Alzheimer’s Disease because of alterations in how the hormone insulin works in these species. Insulin regulates the levels of sugar in the blood, and sets off a complex chemical cascade known as insulin signalling.
We think that in humans, insulin signalling has evolved, with the effect of prolonging lifespan beyond the fertile years, but it also leaves us open to diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease. Previous work shows that insulin resistance predicts the development of Alzheimer’s Disease in people, and people with diabetes are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
“Our study suggests that dolphins and orcas (who also have a long post fertility life span) are similar to humans in many ways,” says Professor Lovestone. “They have an insulin signalling system that makes them an interesting model of diabetes, and now we have shown that dolphin brains show signs of Alzheimer’s identical to those seen in people.”
Professor Lovestone now hopes to use this understanding to improve the way we test new drugs for Alzheimer’s Disease.
Dementia in dolphins could give clues to Alzheimer’s in humans, The Times, 25/10/2017
Researchers at the University of Oxford have found that dolphins can develop Alzheimer’s disease. ‘It is very rare to find signs of full-blown Alzheimer’s disease in non-human brains,’ said Professor Simon Lovestone. The team suggests that changes in insulin signalling may play a role in triggering Alzheimer’s.