Stroke-ImPACT, awarded €6M funding from Fondation Leducq
Edinburgh research group led by Dr Barry McColl is part of an international consortium, Stroke-ImPACT, awarded €6M funding from Fondation Leducq to study the immunological mechanisms that link stroke and dementia.
As more people live to older ages, the number of individuals affected by age-related conditions such as stroke and dementia is greatly increasing. The number of people living with dementia worldwide is predicted to increase from 50 million currently to 150 million in 2050. Stroke itself doubles the risk of dementia, and patients and their carers cite memory problems as one of the most concerning problems after stroke and a priority for research.
The reasons why stroke and related disorders caused by faulty brain blood vessels increase the likelihood of dementia are not well understood. Researchers in the Fondation Leducq consortium, think that changes in the immune system caused by stroke can have long-term effects on the way the brain recovers and functions that could contribute to the risk of dementia.
Some of the immune changes after stroke can be helpful and some harmful and understanding the balance between these is vital. The researchers hope that the work will lead to new ways to identify and treat those at risk of cognitive problems after stroke.
It is also hoped the network can put in place resources and an educational and training environment enabling more researchers start working in the under-represented area in future.
The research will take place over the next 5y and involve groups from the UK, US, Germany, and Spain working together to share their expertise in disciplines including stroke, dementia, immunology, neuroscience, and clinical trials.
Work in the Edinburgh group, who are also a part of the UK Dementia Research Institute, will focus on how early events after stroke shape the longer-term cognition-influencing changes in immune cells inside and outside the brain.