University of Cambridge
Hippocampal sclerosis a poorly understood cause of dementia among the older old
Alzheimer's Research UK
Dementia is a concern for our time, one consequence of the success in extending average human lifespan. One important cause of dementia among the older old may be hippocampal sclerosis – a condition about which very little is known. It is characterized by severe nerve cell loss in the part of the brain controlling memory processing. How this neuron loss develops, what it relates to, and how common hippocampal sclerosis is, remain unclear.
This PhD project aims to fill this gap of knowledge by determining the frequency of hippocampal sclerosis occurrence in the population, describing its clinical characteristics identifying whether early diagnosis is possible, assessing genetic predispositions, exploring its relations to other types of dementia pathology, and by analyzing possible biological which trigger its development.
This is only feasible in studies which have population representation, including the older old, which have been followed by brain donation and pathological analysis. Three of only seven studies of this kind in the world offer a unique combined collection of almost a thousand brains. Within this PhD project, epidemiological, neuropathological, biochemical and statistical methods will be used to clarify the background of hippocampal sclerosis and its role in dementia in the elderly population.