SDRC Research Themes
The SDRC promotes and supports all dementia research in Scotland. Our membership, and our Executive Committee, is diverse and represents all types of dementia and brain health research. The SDRC separate the different disciplines of dementia research in Scotland into themes, which helps us to oversee what types of research are happening and identify areas for development.
At the SDRC, we encourage and promote researchers across all these disciplines and SDRC Themes to work together.
Discovering or improving methods to allow dementia to be detected more accurately and quickly. This type of research is important because earlier diagnosis enables treatment plans to be more effective.
What kind of research takes place in Diagnosis?
This process of diagnosing someone with dementia usually involves tests such as blood tests, spinal fluid tests, brain scanning in addition to speaking to a healthcare professional with someone who knows you well and answering questions about things you find difficult. 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.
Furthermore, Scotland has high standards of record keeping within our NHS which can be used to modernise diagnosis and create best practice across the country.
Recent Diagnosis News & Blogs
Lab-based research which improves understanding of how the brain works and identifies what changes in the brain which cause diseases which contribute to dementia. Fundamental Scientists also work to identify discover new drugs and medical treatments which may prevent, delay or reduce the symptoms of dementia.
What kind of research takes place in 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 in this field, such as animal modelling, stem cell research and the MRI machine have their roots here. In addition, Scottish academic publications have highlighted major breakthroughs in much of our understanding of what we know about neurodegenerative diseases today.
At present, their work spans from the atomic level of understanding of a potential drug target, to evidencing that humans are not the only mammals to show the chemical signs of dementia. 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.
Fundamental sciences in dementia research can also draw on the expertise of all Life Science researchers in Scotland, plus also the wealth and strength in depth of other disciplines including Chemistry and Physics, making it a truly interdisciplinary field. This solid basis indicates that research into the fundamental mechanisms that cause neurodegeneration will continue to flourish. Looking to the future we predict the development of additional interdisciplinary approaches.
Recent Fundamental Science News & Blogs
Living with Dementia
Seeking a better understanding of the experience of dementia. This can allow us to find new ways to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers today.
What kind of research takes place in Living with Dementia?
A person’s experience of living with dementia is unique and influenced by a range of factors. As dementia advances the needs of an individual and their family changes and 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.
Research within this theme is about generating new knowledge that has potential for immediate impact that will improve lives and experiences of care and caring. Our current research explores all areas of living with dementia, from early diagnosis, to the advance stages and dying with dementia. In particular, we focus on understanding the experiences of the individual and developing interventions to support and improve the lives of those with dementia. We do this through collaboration across higher education institutions which has proved key to producing high-quality, original and impactful research which makes a difference to the lives of those living with dementia
Above all else we are committed to actively involving people with dementia in research, which has resulted in the creation of research approaches. Scotland leads the way globally in the involvement of people with dementia and their families in research activities which has helped transform lives and keeps Scotland’s reputation as innovators in dementia care, policy initiatives and dementia education.
Recent Living with Dementia News & Blogs
Prevention research is about how and at what point in a person’s life they start developing dementia.
This theme also looks at how other factors can increase or decrease the speed of progression. These can include lifestyle and genetics
What research is happening in Prevention?
The numbers of people with end stage degenerative brain disease (or dementia) is increasing in all parts of the world, primarily because people are living longer.
Historically in dementia and degenerative brain disease work we have been focused on helping people with symptoms of dementia at more advanced stage to not develop significant impairments, with post diagnostic support and medications. However, with greater understanding of the science of degenerative brain diseases, we are now able to detect early disease and are getting better at working out what is likely to happen in the future.
There is now convincing evidence that degenerative brain disease starts about 30-40 years before the first signs of dementia appear. If we can do this effectively decades before the symptoms develop, then we can prevent the disease progressing to dementia.
Prevention is a massive area of research world-wide and in Scotland. This work mainly includes the undertaking and coordination 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.
Recent Living Prevention News & Blogs
Informatics & Technology
Using both the data that already exists to identify ways to improve the experience of dementia (includes health data but can also include any other data, e.g social media) as well as developing innovations technologies to support those living with or at risk of developing dementia.
What kind of research takes place in Informatics & Technology?
Innovative technologies that support and enhance brain health are growing as fast as the changing needs of those with dementia. Scotland is a hub of technological innovation. We therefore have the knowledge, experience and expertise among us to leverage this wealth of innovation to support those affected by dementia, or are at risk of developing the condition.
Recent Informatics & Technology News & Blogs
Read the latest SDRC Annual Report
SDRC Annual Report 2021/22
Read the latest SDRC report, which provides an overview of the work with each SDRC research theme. It also details the output of all dementia and brain health research in Scotland, including investment, published papers and impact.
Hear more from researchers in our blog pages
How can I be a part of the SDRC?
The SDRC is the biggest network of dementia and brain health research in Scotland. We all work together to celebrate and grow the research community.
Membership is free and open to all.