UCL News


UCL scientist lands £329k funding boost from dementia research charity

8 October 2010

Scientists in the IoN Department of Neurodegenerative Disease, (

Dementia Research Centre ion.ucl.ac.uk/" target="_self">UCL Institute of Neurology) Dementia Research Centre are beginning an important study to shed new light on the workings of a rare form of Alzheimer's disease, made possible by a major grant from the Alzheimer's Research Trust, the UK's leading dementia research charity.

Researchers in the Dementia Research Centre want to know more about the causes of posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) - a variant of Alzheimer's that affects only a few thousand people in the UK, including the much-loved Discworld author Sir Terry Pratchett, who is also a patron of the Alzheimer's Research Trust.

Unlike typical Alzheimer's, where people experience memory loss in the early stages, PCA takes hold at the back of the brain, which is responsible for interpreting what we see. The first symptoms include visual problems such as difficulty seeing what or where things are - for example, difficulty recognising faces.

Dr Sebastian Crutch, a leading expert on PCA, will compare 50 PCA patients, 50 Alzheimer's patients and 50 healthy people over a four-year period, in an effort to pinpoint the causes of PCA and the way it progresses. The study, funded by a £329,947 grant from the Alzheimer's Research Trust, will see his team use a range of techniques to compare people with PCA at different points in time - and they hope their work could lead to new ways of diagnosing the disease, as well as helping predict how it will take hold and how it might respond to possible treatments.

Image: The Dementia Research Centre

read more >> Dementia Research Centre | | Department of Neurodegenerative Disease