Alzheimer’s

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Brain Glue: Sticking it to Dementia

Wednesday 28 February, 7.30-8.45pm

G11, Henley Business School, Whiteknights campus

This event is free to attend.

Registration in advance is not required, but is recommended as public lectures are often full. Click here to book your place >

Nearly a million people in the UK today are living with dementia. Currently there is no treatment that will prevent, cure or slow down its progression. To overcome this scientists are now studying not only nerve cells in the brain, but the so-called glial cells – previously thought to be just the ‘glue’ that sticks other brain cells together. Evidence suggests that these cells could provide insight and even early warning about the onset of disease, years before clinical symptoms develop.

The human brain is the most complex computer we have, yet we are still discovering the basics of how it works. This lecture will outline some of the challenges in finding treatments for brain diseases, and explore the potential of glial cells in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Mark Dallas is a Lecturer in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience at the School of Pharmacy, University of Reading. He is the Academic Co-Ordinator for the Alzheimer’s Research UK Oxford Network, Neuroscience Theme Lead for the Physiological Society and sits on the editorial board of Physiology News.

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By Laura Thei, University of Reading, UK

Reproduced with permission from The Physiological Society’s blog.

The watch, worn by years of use, sits ticking on our table for the first time in two years. It has a simple ivory face and is the last memorabilia my partner has from Grandad Percy. Percy passed from us after a long personal battle with dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s disease. It is in his name that my partner and I will take to the beautiful winding pathways beside the Thames, to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.

We will be taking part in a 7 km Memory Walk, with thousands of others, some my colleagues from the University, each sponsored generously by friends and families, each who has had their life touched by this disease in some way. Last year nearly 80,000 people took part in 31 walks, raising a record £6.6 million. As a researcher in Alzheimer’s disease, I am acutely aware of every penny’s impact in helping to solve the riddle of dementia.  Read the rest of this entry »

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By Dr Mark Dallas, Lecturer in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, University of ReadingMark Dallas

Our hope as dementia scientists is that these cells could unlock a new avenue of treatments that alters the course of Alzheimer’s disease

The human brain is a complex structure made up of different types of cells. You have probably heard scientists talk about nerve cells or brain cells. These are the cells that are lost in Alzheimer’s disease.

However, there are a similar number of other cell types within the brain, called glial cells. ‘Glial’ comes from the Greek word for glue, as these cells were originally believed to hold the nerve cells together. It is now clear that these cells are highly specialised and vital for brain function.

So what are these cells, and how could they help us find treatments for Alzheimer’s?

Read the rest of this entry »

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