Ninety percent of adult neurological disability relates to stroke and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and motor neurone disease. As life-expectancy increases, the number of people disabled by these conditions is expected to double by 2050.
These are all common conditions of the ageing nervous system. Loss of neurones cannot yet be reversed, but delaying the onset of disease and slowing its progression are realistic goals. Our main aim is to use our purpose-built research infrastructure and our well-established cohorts of patients to try and predict on an individual level who will develop these diseases, which will allow us to intervene earlier and reduce the impact of these diseases.
These are difficult diseases to model, with a huge amount of variation that’s not well understood. It is often not easy to predict how people are going to progress. That is why our cohorts of patients are vital in helping us to understand the clinical variations and the biological basis for them, as well as being able to predict which patients will fare better than others.
This will then inform how acute hospitals might deploy their resources to better care for people with chronic neurological conditions, as well as adopting a more individualised approach to patient care.
Among the patient groups who make a vital contribution to our research in this theme are:
- the Stroke Prevention Research Advisory Group, including people taking part in our unique OXVASC study
- the Orchard Research Advisory Group (delirium)
- the Oxford Parkinson’s Disease Centre (OPDC) Discovery Patient Advisory Group, a leading global Parkinson’s disease cohort
- Families for the Treatment of Hereditary MND (FATHoM)
- ACORN C9orf72 MND gene mutation study
These cohorts provide a rich source of data, including biomarkers – molecules in the blood or spinal fluid that can give us vital information about disease activity – and information about different clinical features are reflected in different patterns of proteins in these fluids.
Find out more about our motor neurone disease research
Find out more about our Parkinson’s disease research
Find out more about our stroke research