Genetic research into Lewy body dementia

Dementia with Lewy Bodies Research – Can you help?

The research is being conducted by a research group based at Cardiff University School of Medicine led by Professor Julie Williams, with centres all over the country taking part.

The following information is from the study leaflet which you can download here.

Since 2004 we have been collecting blood samples and interviewing people to try and understand more about how certain genes affect the chance of developing Dementia. Although we started to understand more about how genetics are involved, we know there are more genes to find and much more to learn about how these genes work.

By studying the genes involved in dementia with Lewy bodies we hope to learn more about why people develop the disease. We hope that this will translate into new treatments and better methods of diagnosis in the future.

How can you help?

We are inviting people who have received a diagnosis of Lewy body dementia to help with this research.  Please contact the main team in Cardiff using the details below, and they can direct you to your nearest participating centre.

Helping with our research is completely confidential and involves:

  • A trained Research Assistant or Research Nurse visiting you either at home or at a local clinic. (This visit will last around two hours.)
  • Answering questions about yourself and taking part in a memory test.
  • Providing a blood sample.
  • Inviting a family member or friend to help by answering some questions about your diagnosis, memory and general health.

Why genetics?

Very little is known about the cause of Lewy body dementia, however it is thought to be explained by a combination of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. Genes act like instructions for processes in our bodies. Difference in these instructions are what make us unique. By comparing the subtle differences in the genes of groups of people with and without dementia with Lewy bodies, we discover clues about which processes in our bodies may cause the condition.

What has the research group found so far?

The researchers have found more than 20 genes that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The instructions given by these genes can be grouped into certain functions. These include synaptic cell membrane processes, cholesterol metabolism in the brain and immune function.

We aim to translate this expertise gained from study Alzheimer’s disease to understand more about Lewy body dementia.

For information about the research, please contact:

Dementia Research Group
Cardiff University
Telephone: 02920 688042