International project aims to identify causes of dementia in three diseases


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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Details have just been announced of a new international research project, which aims to identify the common causes of dementia in Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Down syndrome.

As part of the three-year HEROES project (tHE cRossroad of dEmentia Syndromes), scientists will carry out an intensive examination of the noradrenergic system in patients with the different diseases and will examine information contained in chromosome 21. 

It is anticipated that the research could help to identify new biomarkers of dementia progression and explore new therapeutic approaches.

“We believe that there are common factors leading to early loss of cells and their function in the locus coeruleus, implying that the origin for these devastating conditions may be similar," said project coordinator Dr Mara Dierssen from the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) and Hospital del Mar Research Institute (IMIM) in Barcelona, Spain. “We are going to look at what has actually happened in the brains of people with these diseases, including close examination of post-mortem brain tissue, both from human origin and animal models of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Down syndrome.”

The €1.3m HEROES project has been funded by the European Joint Programme - Neurodegenerative Disease (JPND).