Bringing vascular dementia to the forefront of research

Research Project: Disentangling the genetic, pathophysiological and classification complexities of vascular dementia

Lead Investigator: Dr Patrick Kehoe

  • Institution: University of Bristol
  • Grant type: Project
  • Amount: £200,000
  • Start date: October 2010
  • End date: September 2017

This work is generously supported in part by the family of Miriam Frances Clement.

What did the researchers do?

Vascular dementia affects over 150,000 people in the UK. It is the second most common form of dementia. It is commonly reported that research into this area is slowed down by a lack of consensus on how to describe and diagnose it. Dr Kehoe aimed to improve UK vascular dementia resources for both scientists and the public.

Dr Kehoe and his team have developed a standardised criteria for the various forms of vascular cognitive impairment with the input of over 150 dementia researchers worldwide. Additionally the team have put together a user friendly guide to help to improve the diagnosis of people affected by vascular dementia.

What were the key results?

Alongside this work the team carried out the largest ever reviewed all published research into the genes linked to vascular dementia. They found two genes that seem to be associated with an increased risk of vascular dementia. 

Importantly Dr Kehoe and his team have also created an online database of genes that will allow researchers around the world to identify other genes associated with vascular dementia.

How will this help in the fight against dementia?

This important work will help to bring vascular dementia to the forefront of dementia research, improving the resources available to people with dementia, the public and scientists. They hope that these valuable resources will galvanise research into vascular dementia. 

Identifying genes that are associated with dementia is vital as it gives us clues as to the mechanisms and proteins involved when things go wrong.

What are the next steps?

The team hope to publish their guidelines and criteria so they can be used in a clinical and research setting. Dr Kehoe is also looking to investigate which mechanisms in the cell are associated with the genes they have identified.

Sharing this research

The research team have published their results in a number of scientific journals including:

  • Skrobot, OA et al. 'The Vascular Impairment of Cognition Classification Consensus Study' Alzheimer's and Dementia 2017;13(6):624-633 DOI: 10.1016/j.jalz.2016.10.007