Our Research

There are, as yet, no treatments to prevent or reverse Alzheimer’s Disease and other types of dementia. Therefore, we need researchers that are not only working to prevent, delay or treat the disease, but also those that can help those living with these conditions today.

At the SDRC, the research we work with is meaningful for people with all stages of the disease from prevention to management of its advanced stages. The work we promote is both practical and has real world impact.

At the SDRC, we divide our work into five subcategories, known as themes. These themes often cross over each other, and part of the SDRC’s core mission is to promote and encouarage collaboration across these themes.

Read below for more information on each of the SDRC Research themes.

The diagnosis theme is about how conditions that can cause progressive brain failure and lead to dementia are diagnosed. Diagnosis is important because it helps to determine what the course of the illness will be and can help identify any treatment options.

The earlier a person living with dementia is diagnosed, the more effective treatments and care plans are.Research into diagnosis of conditions that can cause dementia is advancing all the time. This can include new ways of clinical testing of patients and coming up with more specific tests. Right now, in Scotland, research studies are taking place that are discovering new ways of brain scanning- from inventing new machines to new ways of analysing the scanning information.



Fundamental Science

Fundamental science is the creation of new drugs and tests that can be used to better diagnose and treat dementia in the future.

Scotland has a strong reputation in the fundamental sciences with a diverse range of world-class researchers. Many of the major advances and major breakthroughs in much of our understanding of what we know about neurodegenerative diseases today.  This rich understanding has led to new and world leading facilities that are aiming to translate this knowledge into potential new therapies. The concentration of drug discovery research in Scotland is unparalleled in Europe.


Living with Dementia research is about generating new knowledge that can improve lives and experiences of care and caring for people today.

Our current research explores all areas of living with dementia, from early diagnosis, to the advance stages and dying with dementia.  It is important that we understand the experience of dementia so we can support, care for, and enable all people affected by dementia to live the best life possible.

Above all else we are committed to actively involving people with dementia in research. Scotland leads the way globally in the involvement of people with dementia and their families in research activities which has helped transform dementia care, policy and education.

Living with Dementia


Prevention is a growing area of research around the world.

Scotland is a key focus in this field of research.Historically in dementia research, we have been focused on helping people with manage the symptoms with post diagnostic support and medication. However, with greater understanding of the science of degenerative brain diseases, we are now getting better at working how people’s brain health can affect their likelihood of developing dementia in the future. This work mainly includes running of cohort studies (a group of people studied over time) where we can learn about disease progression and how this is related to factors like lifestyle, medical comorbidities and genetics.

The SDIP aims to link health and social care data to improve understanding of the healthcare of people living with dementia and at a high risk of developing this condition.

In Scotland, when a person uses the national health and social care services, all the information that is generated from their visit is stored in different systems. Scotland is producing a significant amount of clinical data about people living with dementia and healthcare in general. SDIP is supporting joining this information together, as it will offer great opportunities to dementia research.

At a higher level, SDIP, as its own project, will hold Scotland as a case study and report how data linkage, and the integration of data, can be used to address national healthcare challenges.

Scottish Dementia Informatics Partnership

How can I get involved in dementia research?

You can take part in research whether you have dementia or not. These are details of organisations in Scotland  that you can join up to, to take part in research.

Signing up is the first step in becoming involved in supporting vital research studies across the nation.

You can find out more about volunteering for dementia research studies by calling Alzheimer Scotland’s 24 Hour helpline on  0808 808 3000

Join Dementia Research

Join Dementia Research is UK-wide service allowing people to register their interest in taking part in dementia research and be matched to suitable studies. The register is open to anyone – you do not need to have a diagnosis of dementia or any family history of the illness. 

You can also sign up someone else to the register, if you have their consent to do so.

You can register as a volunteer by visiting their website at: www.joindementiaresearch.nihr.ac.uk