The Brain Centre was opened in 2015 to accommodate clinical research into dementia, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease. BRACE contributed funding approximately proportionate to the use of the facility by the dementia research team, and the charity office is now located in the Brain Centre.

It is expected that the facility will provide a home for clinical research into dementia until at least 2035.

What is the Bristol Brain Centre?

The Brain Centre is the first facility of its kind in the UK to bring together research teams in dementia, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease. Part of Elgar House in Southmead Hospital was refurbished and modernized to provide the centre, which supports outpatients with these neurological conditions and carries out research connected to NHS care.

The operation of the centre is a partnership between North Bristol NHS Trust and the University of Bristol. Its funding was achieved as partnership between BRACE and two groups under the umbrella of the Southmead Hospital Charity – BrAMS and MOVE-hIT.

The dementia research team is the ReMemBr Group, led by Dr Liz Coulthard. It is a team of clinicians, researchers, psychologists and nurses working to improve the lives of people with dementia, through research and clinical services. Its research spans lifestyle modifications, techniques to improve early diagnosis, medications that might enhance quality of life as well as those that might slow down, halt or even prevent dementia. The group has close working links with University of Bristol’s Dementia Research Group and other neighbouring universities. It also runs a cognitive clinic, specialising in early onset or rarer forms of dementia.

Why is the Bristol Brain Centre important?

BRACE recognised many years ago that a dedicated clinical research centre was a vital part of dementia research in the region. Since Dr Coulthard was appointed in 2011 (working in the former BRACE Centre at Frenchay Hospital), it has become the hub of a wide range of research involving other research teams in the West Country and South Wales.

The Brain Centre, as well as providing a high quality home for this research initiative, also brings it into a collaborative relationship with researchers into different but often related neurological conditions.