BRACE has funded dementia research since 1987. It has invested millions of pounds to supporting multidisciplinary research in all aspects of dementia. Some of the significant contributions that BRACE has helped to bring about are:

Facilities

  • Helping to create the Bristol Brain Centre, a bespoke clinical research facility at Southmead Hospital in Bristol, where BRACE has pump-primed the ReMemBr Group and facilitated a dementia clinic with three dementia consultants.
  • The establishment of the South West Dementia Brain Bank with tissue donations from people who died with or without dementia. This material underpins a large programme of laboratory-based research into the causes of dementia at the University of Bristol and is also made available to researchers worldwide in collaborative projects. To date the SWDBB has provided material that has given rise to well over a hundred scientific publications that have each contributed to our growing knowledge of the underlying causes of different forms of dementia.

Clinical trials

  • Research funded by BRACE helped to provide the foundations for a ground-breaking clinical trial known as RADAR. This could lead to significant clinical benefit for people with Alzheimer's disease.

Progress in research

  • Supporting staff who have played key roles in the research and development of drugs that have been developed for the treatment of the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
  • Supporting studies that show how the brain works in order to understand better the problems that occur in the brain of people with dementia and to target research into the potential of new molecules as the basis for new drugs to treat the disease.
  • Supporting studies investigating why some people get dementia and others don't by comparing the genetic make-up of people with and without the condition.
  • Multi-method objective research including psychophysics, EEG, MEG, neuroimaging, eye tracking and Pupilometry which has revealed that Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia detrimentally affect more brain functions than those typically tested in memory clinics, including significant abnormality in vision and attention. This research has provided objective evidence which has contributed to the development of dementia friendly environments and helped to reveal some of reasons why certain behaviour can be affected in Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

Tools

  • The development of an assessment tool, Bristol Activities of Daily Living Scale (BADLS) which is used worldwide to assist in the diagnosis of dementia.
  • The promotion of a 'Gold Standard' protocol to assess and treat patients in a memory clinic environment to provide an accurate diagnosis as quickly as possible.
  • Funding the publication of a researchers’ guide for performing research with older adults and those living with cognitive impairment and dementia. This encourages high level research and ensuring that research participants have a positive experience.

Other

  • Ensuring that the researchers we support are published. All BRACE-supported researchers are expected to contribute articles to specialist scientific and medical journals, and present their findings at conferences.
  • Supporting young scientists who want to make a career in dementia research through the funding of PhD studentships and post-doctoral research posts, ensuring that there are researchers being trained in dementia research.

This represents just some of the ways that BRACE funding has helped to support talented researchers to carry out research with the express aim of finding treatments and ultimately a cure for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.