Are COVID-19 and Alzheimer’s linked? New £2.8m research study launched at NUH | Latest news

Are COVID-19 and Alzheimer’s linked? New £2.8m research study launched at NUH

Are COVID-19 and Alzheimer’s linked? New £2.8m research study launched at NUH

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) is launching a multi-million pound research study into the possible links between COVID-19 and dementia as part of its celebrations for International Clinical Trials Day (Friday 20 May 2022).

The study has been developed using Nottingham’s world-leading expertise in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and will use the latest high-powered 7 Tesla MRI scanner based in the city. The research is being carried out by a team of neurologists from NUH and scientists at the University of Nottingham based in the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre. The £2.8 million study is funded by the United States National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Ageing and is the first in the world to explore structural changes in the brain that may cause memory loss following Coronavirus infection.

In Nottingham, Consultant Neurologist Dr Akram Hosseini, a previous winner of the national MRC/NIHR CARP (Clinical Academic Research Partnership) award is leading this research.

Dr Hosseini said: “COVID-19 has had devastating effects on millions of people around the world. It is important to study the impact of the virus on the brain and the function of the brain including cognition and thinking abilities, months after infection.

“The 7T COVID Consortium brings together multiple interdisciplinary Ultrahigh Field (7T) MRI centres, leading institutes for innovative research into prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, and some of the world’s largest medical centres and clinical research establishments with physicians and scientists.”

This is the latest research study to be launched, but one of hundreds of studies carried out by researchers in Nottingham every year. As well as inviting people to consider taking part in this study, as part of International Clinical Trials Day researchers are paying tribute to the people who make this possible by agreeing to take part.

Professor Ian Hall, Director of the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre and Acting Clinical Director for Research & Innovation at NUH, said:

“Clinical research continues to make an immense contribution to advancing science and improving the lives of patients around the world.

“In recent months, we have undertaken research into a wide range of other diseases that are a significant burden to the health of people living in Nottingham, across the UK and internationally.

“None of this research would be possible without patients agreeing to take part in our studies, and our Research Volunteers who devote their own time to support our work. For this, they deserve our sincere thanks.”

Last year, over 11,700 people took part in nearly 400 research studies at NUH, which helped advance the treatment of serious diseases such as COVID-19, asthma, treatment resistance depression and inflammatory bowel disease.

International Clinical Trials Day also marks the launch of new opportunities to become a Research Volunteer, who are supported by Nottingham Hospitals Charity, at NUH. Nottingham is leading the development of dedicated volunteer roles within clinical research, bringing the skills and dedication of local people into the research environment to support patients and staff who are contributing to new research here.

New Research Volunteers will join an existing team of 19 active volunteers who will contribute to a range of tasks including plans to take NUH’s research out into the community later this year. They have previously helped support research work including a clinical trial into the Valneva COVID-19 vaccine, conducted at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, in 2021.

One of the groups that has volunteered their time to contribute to research in Nottingham has been the YPAG (Young Person’s Advisory Group) who ensured that research into paediatric constipation was relevant to the needs of young people. They worked as part of the project team on ‘MAGIC’ (the MAGnetic resonance Imaging in paediatric Constipation) programme with lead researcher Professor Luca Marciani.

Olivia Ibbotson, one of the YPAG volunteers, said:

“Being involved in the 'MAGIC' research project through the YPAG has been an amazing opportunity to be part of the processes the whole way through from designing packing to being able to present at conferences with Professor Marciani. It's important as we are able to make sure the study is child-friendly, giving input on how the patient may feel from the viewpoint of a young person.”

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