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Inside the University's continuing fight against dementia

Defending the brain

by Josie Dixon (Univ, 1983), 8 June 2014

Last month’s Dementia Awareness Week, championed by the Alzheimer’s Society, was designed to confront head-on the issues too often obscured by what risks becoming a conspiracy of silence – even in academia – in the face of one of the most significant clinical and social problems of our time.

Speaking for OxDARE (Oxford Dementia and Ageing Research), Clare Mackay describes this new political context as ‘very motivating’. OxDARE is a working group on cognitive health, formed in response to the Prime Minister’s Challenge, and designed to coordinate the huge range of Oxford’s research activity, comprising many different departments and approaches to dementia. This coordinated enterprise gives the University a more competitive edge in bidding for the increased research funds now available for what was, until recently, very much a Cinderella subject.

The appointment of Simon Lovestone from King’s College London, a world leader in Alzheimer’s research, to Oxford’s new Chair of Translational Neuroscience has emphasized this shift in focus. It exemplifies a vigorous ambition to develop new treatments by bringing together disparate but vitally interrelated advances in research into cell and molecular biology, genetics, genomics, animal biology, cognitive testing and imaging, drug design and new pharmaceutical interventions.

For a discussion of new strategies in the treatment of dementia, see

Renewed focus on dementia checked by drug challenges
Chemistry World, 03/07/2014, Maria Burke

Article on efforts to find new drugs to combat dementia includes comment from Simon Lovestone, professor of translational neuroscience at the University of Oxford.