Neurodegeneration Group

Newcastle has a 30 year track record of international excellence and achievement into brain ageing research, particularly the in fields of neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer type dementia and dementia with Lewy body.

Newcastle’s key achievements include identifying Alzheimer’s disease as the most common cause of dementia in old age and describing deficits in cholinergic neurotransmission as a key basis for cognitive impairment.

Our recent work has had global, cross-disciplinary impact in relation to the clinical and pathological diagnosis and management of dementia with Lewy bodies and dementia in Parkinson’s disease and has further elucidated the role of the cholinergic system in cognitive and non-cognitive symptom formation.  Other research programmes are investigating cognitive outcomes associated with stroke and cerebrovascular disease and the biological basis of late life affective disorder.

Principle Investigators

David Burn is Director of the Clinical Ageing Research Unit at Newcastle. The main focus of his research is the investigation and treatment of Parkinson’s Disease. He and his team are engaged in several innovative programmes and collaborations.

John O’Brien focuses on the application of MR, SPECT and PET imaging in dementia and depression. This includes serial imaging studies of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson’s disease and Parkinson’s disease dementia.

Ian McKeith is a founding member of the Institute for Ageing and Health (IAH), a large inter-disciplinary research group spanning molecular mechanisms of cell ageing to clinical intervention studies. The main research strategies centre upon longitudinal clinical assessment of patients with neurodegenerative disorders with follow up to death and request for brain autopsy. His own studies focused upon Lewy body disease have contributed to the development of globally used Consensus criteria for DLB.

Johannes Attems is a reader in Neurodegenerative Pathology at the Wolfson Research Centre, which is part of Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing and Health. The main focus of Johannes’ work is research into age-related neurodegenerative diseases of the brain, which include Alzheimer´s and Lewy body diseases.

Tim Williams Clinical research interests in motor neurone disease and its clinical management. Recent projects and publications focused on the appropriate use of and the measurement of the effects of non-invasive ventilation, and decision making around PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) insertion. He has run/are running 5 treatment trials in MND in the last 6 years. Tim was program director and regional specialty adviser for neurology in the Northern Deanery and maintains a strong interest in training and teaching.

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