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Aston scientists win funding for Alzheimer’s research

4th December 2007 – for immediate release

Researchers from Aston University have received a £22,000 boost from the UK's leading dementia research charity, the Alzheimer's Research Trust, to examine changes that occur in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease that interfere with the ability to learn and recall memories.

One of the key chemicals in the brain involved in learning is acetylcholine, which is released from brain cells called neurons. It binds to receptors on other neurons to send signals.

Amyloid, a protein that builds up in the brains of people with Alzheimer's, can interact with the acetylcholine receptor. The accumulation of amyloid effects how the acetylcholine can act as a signal in the brain.

Dr Rheinallt Parri and his team at Aston University, will investigate the impact that a build up of amyloid has on the receptor to find out how it may alter a person's ability to learn.

Dr Parri said, "Identifying a new action of amyloid in the brain would be a major step forward in understanding of Alzheimer’s and a possible target for new drug treatments."

Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer's Research Trust, said: "We still just don't know enough about the role and function of amyloid and how it affects learning and recalling memories in the Alzheimer's brain. We hope this research will help significantly with that, allowing us to think about future directions for potential treatments.

"We wish Dr Parri and the team well in their research and look forward to hearing of their results over the months to come."

Ends

For more information, photos or to arrange an interview with Dr Parri and/or Rebecca Wood please contact Sally Finn in Aston University’s Press Office or the Alzheimer's Research Trust Press Office on 01223 843304 or visit the online newsroom at www.alzheimers-research.org.uk/news/.

Notes to Editors

• The Alzheimer's Research Trust provides free information to the

public on Alzheimer's and the treatments currently available: phone 01223 843304; www.alzheimers-research.org.uk

• Alzheimer's disease is not a normal, unavoidable part of getting

older, but a fatal and incurable brain disease.

• Alzheimer's research is severely under-funded - only £11 is spent on

UK research annually per patient, compared with £289 for people with cancer yet the number of people with these conditions is similar.

• There are currently 9,378 people with dementia in Birmingham.

• There are currently 527,000 people with Alzheimer's disease in the

UK.

• Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia.

• There are currently 700,000 people with dementia in the UK today.

• The number of people with dementia is projected to double within a generation.

• Care services for Alzheimer's disease costs the UK more than cancer,

heart disease and stroke combined.

• The Alzheimer's Research Trust is the UK's leading research charity

for Alzheimer's and related causes of dementia. It relies on donations from the public to fund its vital research.

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