Major international project aims to identify causes of dementia

Major international project aims to identify causes of dementia

News from CRG

Dementia is common to a variety of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson disease (PD) and Down syndrome (DS). This common symptom is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people. Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia, and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year.

The aim of a group of European scientists is to identify common physiological pathways between the different diseases involving neurodegeneration and dementia, in an area of the brain stem called locus coeruleus. Their research could be helpful to determine new biomarkers of dementia progression and to explore new therapeutic approaches.

This project will carry out an intensive examination of the noradrenergic system in these patients, which regulates attention, memory, and arousal. Noradrenergic neurons reside on locus coeruleus and their activity affects other brain areas.

In addition, since it is known that almost all Down syndrome patients develop dementia over the age of 40, researchers will pay special attention to the information contained in the chromosome 21.

The HEROES project (tHE cRossroad of dEmentia Syndromes) is a 3-year, €1.3m project funded by the European Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease (JPND) in which Mara Dierssen (leader of the Cellular and Systems Neurobiology group of the Systems Biology program at the CRG and research collaborator at the IMIM) is one of the partners.


More information:
CRG website