Professor Alan Thomas / Professor John-O
University of Newcastle
Understanding the Basis and Interaction of Non-cognitive and Cognitive Symptoms in Dementia with Lewy Bodies
Our DTC will examine the neurobiological basis of three key non-cognitive symptoms in DLB (depression,
cognitive fluctuations and gait impairment) and their relationship to cognitive impairments. These symptoms
cause substantial distress to patients and burden to carers. The DTC draws on the expertise of thirteen clinical
and basic scientists spanning nine specialities, four of whom are new to dementia research.
We propose five interlinked projects (Newcastle BRU is committed to supporting an additional DTC project) using
a range of scientific methodologies. The first project utilises post mortem brain tissue to investigate depression
and its relationship to executive impairment in dementia by assessing specific molecular signatures related to
synuclein pathology. The other four projects study fluctuations, depression, gait disturbance and their shared
mechanisms and span much of the translational pathway from mouse models through human brain tissue to
neuroimaging data and gait analysis.
Newcastle has a strong track record of taking laboratory findings into clinical practice (e.g. dopamine deficits to
DaTSCAN imaging). Identified pathophysiological mechanisms will be developed in future clinical studies to
improve diagnosis and treatment. Findings will be disseminated through NE Dementia Alliance (includes
Alzheimer’s Society), academic meetings and peer reviewed journals.