Volunteers with LBD sought for new study

The Dementia Research Centre at University College London is looking for volunteers with Lewy body dementia to take part in a new research study funded by the British Medical Association Foundation.

Background to the study

In order to develop new treatments for Lewy body dementia (LBD) or to test existing treatments, researchers need to use markers of how the disease is progressing. Currently these do not exist for LBD. The best that we have at present are scores on thinking and memory tests or scales of the general impression of how a patient is doing. These are highly inaccurate and vary between observers, making them unreliable. As a result, trials to develop new treatments are severely hampered.

Our work in Parkinson’s disease has shown that certain measures are related to the risk of developing Parkinson’s dementia. We have used advanced brain imaging techniques to show that iron increases in the brains of people at risk of Parkinson’s dementia. We showed that the wiring connecting brain regions is thinned in patients at higher risk of Parkinson’s dementia.

We have also shown that blood measures of a protein called neurofilament light are higher in Parkinson’s patients with poorer cognition. Given the close links between Parkinson’s disease and LBD, we expect that these measures will also be useful to track disease activity in LBD.

Aim of the study
The aim of this project is to take a multi-pronged approach to develop markers to track disease activity in LBD.

We plan to:
– Use advanced brain imaging to detect changes in brain iron and brain wiring
– Identify blood markers of disease progression (including neurofilament light, a measure of brain tissue destruction)

Our work will help us develop new measures of disease activity in LBD, to enable clinical trials to slow progression of disease.

What will it involve?

We will first arrange a phone call to go through the study visit in more detail and go through some safety questions to check you can have an MRI brain scan.

If you are still interested, we will invite you for a research visit at our centre in London. You will be with us for most of the day. During this time you will have some thinking and memory tests, a brain scan and some blood tests.

You will have the chance to take breaks.

Who can take part?

You will need to be
– Between 50-80 years old
– Able to have an MRI brain scan (so no pacemaker or other metals that are unsafe for MRI scanning)
– Ideally within the M25 so that you can get to our centre for the research visit

For further information, please contact Dr Rimona Weil (study lead): rimona.weil@nhs.net Or Naomi Hannaway (Research Assistant): naomi.hannaway@nhs.net