Category Archives: New research

Lost and forgotten: improving our diagnosis of dementia

Accurately diagnosing conditions of the brain such as dementia can be very challenging; there are no easy blood tests or scans that tell us without a doubt what a patient is suffering from. Diagnosis involves observing the patient’s symptoms and performing a number of clinical tests such as testing memory function, and depends on a good understanding of what symptoms […]

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Rethinking schizophrenia

I work in the field of schizophrenia research; specifically, I study schizophrenia by looking at the brain. Up until about 25 years ago, this way of studying schizophrenia was considered a dead-end career path for pathologists and researchers like me; many doubted that measurable differences between the brains of people with schizophrenia and those who don’t have a mental disorder […]

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Mental time travel – insights from semantic dementia

At NeuRA, we work with patients who have a form of younger-onset dementia called semantic dementia (SD). These patients experience progressive damage to a specific region of the brain called the temporal lobes; as a result, they forget the names and functions of simple objects and lose the ability to recognise familiar faces or popular tunes. Despite these profound difficulties […]

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Things that go ‘snort’ in the night: Towards effective new therapies for sleep apnoea

I remember the first time I saw someone stop breathing during sleep. After a prolonged pause they suddenly gasped for air only to fall back asleep and stop breathing once again. Like me, if you have ever witnessed someone suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), it’s hard to imagine how these individuals can function at all during the day given […]

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Beyond motor symptoms in MND

Motor neurone disease (MND), as discussed in previous posts, is not a disease of pure motor symptoms. MND can also affect one’s ability to perform complex judgments (e.g. financial decision-making) and leads to changes in behaviour (e.g. a person once very active and driven can become apathetic). These non-motor symptoms and behavioural changes often go unrecognised and underdiagnosed. In a […]

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Bringing words back

You know the word…it’s right there…on the tip of your tongue…and…it’s gone again. Argh! Struggling to think of a certain word is something everyone encounters. For a specific group of dementia patients, however, this is a daily battle and often involves words for common household objects previously well remembered (e.g kettle). Semantic dementia is a disease that attacks language in […]

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