Our research

Alzheimer's Society research programme focuses on improving care for people with dementia today and finding a cure for tomorrow.

The number of people with dementia is rising, and one in three people born today will develop dementia in their lifetime. 

Right now, anyone living with dementia is likely to face problems with obtaining an accurate diagnosis, accessing treatments that can help their symptoms, and getting care that addresses their needs. Research is the key to unlocking all these problems.

We are the leading care and research charity for people with dementia in the UK. We are also the only dementia charity that funds all types of dementia research from basic biomedical through to clinical and care research. 

1 in 3 people born in the UK today will be diagnosed with dementia in their lifetime
1.6 million people are expected to be living with dementia in 2040
Dementia is the UK's biggest health and social care crisis

Our pioneering research programme works in collaboration with scientists and people affected by dementia to ensure the research we fund addresses the greatest challenges in dementia research.

At Alzheimer’s Society we are committed to investing in the future. We are actively helping early career dementia researchers thrive, and we have an outstanding track record of supporting them at critical points of their career. We want to recruit the best researchers into the field of dementia research and support them to become world leading scientists.  

What has Alzheimer's Society research already achieved?

In 1989, we funded research led by Professor Sir John Hardy which found a gene mutation behind a genetic form of Alzheimer's disease. This discovery led to the proposal of the Amyloid Cascade Hypothesis, which has dominated the field of Alzheimer's disease research and led to billions of pounds of investment into clinical trials.

In the early 1990s, we funded Professor Nick Fox - then a research fellow - who carried out work on the detection of Alzheimer's disease in individuals at risk. Professor Fox found changes in the brain's of people who went on to develop a rare genetic form of Alzheimer's disease several years before symptoms appear, redefining when the diseases which cause dementia start and shifting when we can try treating these conditions.

In the late 2000's, we part-funded a research trial called DOMINO-AD to investigate if symptom-management medication for Alzheimer's disease was beneficial for those in the later stages of the disease. The results of the trial led to changes in the prescription guidelines to give all people with Alzheimer's disease access to these treatments and allowing them to spend more time at home with their loved ones.

In the past, the prescription of antipsychotics to control symptoms like aggression and agitation in people with advanced dementia was widespread – by the mid-2000s, 25% of those living with dementia were taking these powerful drugs. However, there was growing concern that these drugs were doing harm and shortening the lives of people with dementia.

Alzheimer's Society funded researchers to find alternative ways using person centred care to help manage these symptoms without the need for antipsychotic drugs. Thanks to a campaign effort, the prescription of antipsychotic medication was greatly reduced, giving families more precious time with their loved ones.