Scotland flagOn this St Andrew’s Day 2016, we look at some of the studies on Join Dementia Research that are currently recruiting in Scotland.

The RADAR study is a ground-breaking clinical trial examining how a commonly used blood pressure drug called losartan could slow down the rate of progression in Alzheimer’s disease. The study is testing whether the drug reduces rates of brain shrinkage, vascular damage (affecting the blood vessels) and cognitive impairment that are all common features in Alzheimer’s disease. Participants do not have to have high blood pressure or if they are taking certain drugs for their blood pressure, they may still be able to take part.

Carers of people with dementia often have to organise and manage support and services for the person they care for. By improving understanding of such factors, future interventions and policies can be developed to address these needs. The Carer Experiences – Resources and Services study will therefore explore these experiences of people who care for someone with dementia.

The Biogen ENGAGE Study is looking at a new intervention for Alzheimer’s disease in the form of an experimental medication, called Aducanumab. The study will investigate the effectiveness and safety of the drug in slowing progression of symptoms in very early stage Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers are also looking for people with Mild Cognitive Impairment due to Alzheimer’s.laptop

Detecting changes to cognition early on is important for the effective treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The Memory and Learning: Cognitive Processes Underlying Disorders of Memory study is assessing novel techniques, that include questionnaires and computerised tests, for detecting and monitoring memory problems due to the disease. The study team is looking to discover if these novel assessments would make a useful addition to standard clinical assessment of detecting Alzheimer’s and to differentiate between different types of dementia.

Existing research suggests that reducing a brain enzyme called ‘Glycogen-synthase kinase 3’ (GSK-3) may possibly be an effective way to prevent dementia. Currently Lithium is the only drug available for prescription which can reduce GSK-3 activity. The Preliminary evaluation of Lithium as a GSK-3 inhibitor study is looking to find the lowest dose of Lithium Carbonate which is effective to ‘switch off’ the GSK-3 enzyme activity. The researchers will also be using new techniques to accurately measure the activity of the enzyme in the blood of people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and in healthy people. These results will be important for the design of a future larger trial to investigate whether Lithium can delay the onset of dementia.

Digital platform 1The Dementia Post Diagnostic Digital Platform study is looking to test whether a new digital platform of three online resources (a website, an app and software) is an effective post-diagnostic support tool for people with dementia and their families. These resources can together help people get information about their health and well-being, but can also give them control over the amount and type of care they might need.

Specific protein fragments (called amyloid-beta) found in the brain are thought to be an important early indicator of Alzheimer’s disease. The Janssen Early study is looking for people who are currently healthy but considered at risk of developing Alzheimer’s in the future because they have some indication of the amyloid protein in their brain. The study researchers aim to find out if treatment with a new study drug, developed by the sponsor (Janssen), slows down cognitive decline by reducing the amount of amyloid-beta fragments.

You can see if you are eligible for any of these studies, as well as others around Scotland, by logging into your Join Dementia Research account.

Not registered with Join Dementia Research? Why not sign up today?