We envisage that NEURACLIN will focus on memory-affecting disorders, including but not limited to Dementias and Epilepsy. Research themes in NEURACLIN speakers’ conference talks include: novel methods for improving early detection/diagnosis of dementia; brain circuit mechanisms (DNA methylation, tauopathy, place and grid cell impairments, dendritic excitability) underlying various dementias; and dementia care and intervention (community support, meeting centres, life-style, behaviour and pharmacological interventions).
The organisation of NEURACLIN is led by Dr Steven Poulter and Professor Colin Lever (Psychology Department, Durham University), and Dr Stephen Evans (Department of Psychological Medicine in York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust).
The NEURACLIN 2022 recording can be freely viewed here on YouTube
Are you interested in memory-affecting disorders? What changes take place in the brain causing certain dementias, such as Alzheimer’s disease? What methods can be used to detect and diagnose dementia earlier and more accurately? What type of support is available for people living with dementia? Neuraclin 2022 is a free, one day, live-streamed, virtual event aimed at addressing one of the greatest challenges of our era: dealing with dementia.
Dr Steven Poulter and Professor Colin Lever (Department of Psychology, Durham University, UK), bring together 14 world-leading academics and clinicians to talk about their work.
Neuraclin 2022 Programme & Schedule (PDF download)
Developing novel methods for improving detection of early Alzheimer’s disease
Two components will be discussed. The first relates to tests of spatial memory and navigation, based on knowledge of entorhinal cortex and hippocampal single cell activity, using app- and VR-based paradigms to examine disease effect on these brain regions vulnerable to early AD. As well as work undertaken in human cohorts at risk of dementia, this will also cover studies of hippocampal function in animal models of AD, to illustrate the translational benefits of this approach.
The second component of his talk relates to the accelerating interest in developing digital methods for detecting AD prior to symptom onset, as part of his involvement in the EDoN Initiative (https://edon-initiative.org ). This will cover the use of wearable tech to capture multiple aspects of everyday activities and functions, ranging from passive sensing of sleep and mobility to active remote testing of cognition, and the use of machine learning/AI to extract diagnostic signal from the high-dimensional datasets arising from these devices.
Dr Dennis Chan is a Principle Research Fellow at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience as well as a consultant neurologist who runs a cognitive disorders clinic in mid-Sussex with a special focus on patients with mild cognitive impairment and the emerging phenomenon of cognitive Covid. Dr Chan has pioneered the application of novel spatial tests to demonstrate brain dysfunction in pre-dementia Alzheimer’s disease (AD). With Neil Burgess (UCL), his work showed that a virtual reality test of navigation is more sensitive and specific for early AD than currently used “gold standard” cognitive tests (Brain, 2019). Dr Chan is funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and the National Institute for Health Research.
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Mechanisms of pathogenesis in the tauopathies
Karen will talk about her research on how tau protein accumulates in neurons in several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Frontotemporal Lobe Dementia (FTD-tau). Abnormal tau accumulation in the form of neurofibrillary tangles, neuropil threads and in some diseases, glial pathology, is tightly linked to neurodegeneration and cognitive impairment. One feature of diseases with tau pathology (collectively called tauopathies) is the observation that tauopathy starts in one area of the brain (in specific, selectively vulnerable neurons) and spreads through the brain as the disease progresses, impacting neuroanatomically connected regions. The trajectory followed suggests that tauopathy spreads transynaptically. We have created a mouse model of tauopathy spread that replicates the earliest stages of AD, where tau pathology is initiated in the entorhinal cortex, and spreads through the hippocampus to the neocortex. We have investigated mechanisms of transynaptic spread, functional impact and cognitive impairment in this mouse model, as well as the molecular basis of selective neuronal vulnerability to tau accumulation.
Prof Karen Duff has worked for over 30 years on Alzheimer’s disease and the tauopathies, for which she was awarded the prestigious Potamkin Prize in 2006, and more recently the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Neuroscience 2020’ prize by the British Neuroscience Association. Prof Duff has published more than 130 peer-reviewed research articles (>41,800 citations) in journals including Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Genetics, Nature Neuroscience, PNAS and Neuron. In 2019 she moved to University College London as director of the UK Dementia Research Institute. Her interests span a range of research areas, from discovery science through to therapeutic approaches. Over her career she has created several important mouse models for AD and FTD-tau and she has studied several disease-associated molecular mechanisms using innovative and state of the art methods. Her most recent interests include the causes and consequences of tau pathology propagation, and the basis of selective cellular vulnerability.
Professor Dame Louise Robinson, is an academic GP and Professor of Primary Care and Ageing at Newcastle University. She was the first GP to be awarded a prestigious NIHR Professorship. Professor Robinson also holds the first UK Regius Professorship in Ageing.
Louise leads a research programme focused on improving quality of life and quality of care for older people, especially those with dementia. She leads 1 of only 3 Alzheimer Society national Centres of Excellence on Dementia Care. Louise was primary care lead for the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge and is a member of the National Dementia Care Guidelines development group.
The title of Prof Robinson’s talk will be:
Post diagnostic dementia care....could do better...