Increasing our understanding of Lewy body dementia: a trainee’s story
The NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) has been instrumental in increasing the clinical and scientific understanding of dementia with Lewy bodies, even playing a critical role in the creation of a differential diagnosis and therefore supporting healthcare professionals in spotting the condition over other forms of dementia. In his NIHR Newcastle BRC Dementia theme project, Ramtin Mehraram has continued this crucial work, involving electroencephalography biomarkers.
Can you give us a summary of your research?
My Newcastle BRC-funded research project aimed to assess how the electrical activity of the brain is affected in the different forms of dementia. Specifically, I explored how the information flow between the different areas of the brain is disrupted in this condition. This is relevant for supporting the research on electroencephalography (EEG) biomarkers for dementia, as well as providing insights into the pathologies.
What has your research shown?
The results of my research showed that neuronal communication between brain areas is significantly affected in dementia and is differently affected in the different types of dementia. In addition, this impairment is associated with disruption of the cholinergic system throughout the brain. Overall, these results provide novel insights into this condition which can improve the diagnostic accuracy and possibly support the development of targeted treatments for people with Lewy body dementia.
What data did you use for your study and how was this collected?
For my study I used data that had already been collected many years ago by other members of my research team, for dementia research at Newcastle University.
What have you gained from being an NIHR funded trainee?
The NIHR is a strong and extended platform. People within this network are incredibly supportive and motivated to push the quality of research forward. I always felt like having an ally next to me opening for me several opportunities and ways in order for me to make the best choices for my research.
What are your next steps?
I obtained a three year postdoc position at KU Leuven (Belgium), where I will be involved in a study on functional brain alterations associated with aphasia, a condition typically associated with brain stroke.