Dementia is defined as progressive and debilitating decline in cognitive function. The major causes of dementia are neurodegenerative diseases of aging, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and frontotemporal dementia. In addition, vascular disease is an important cause and contributor.
Dementia is a major and growing public health concern as the number of patients and the associated health care costs continue to rise. Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia. Currently, there are no treatments known to halt or slow the progression of this disease in afflicted individuals.
In the Experimental Dementia Research Unit we work to uncover the cell biological and pathological basis of dementia. We provided the first evidence that age-related dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease initiates with aberrant accumulation and aggregation of β-amyloid peptides within vulnerable neurons and their terminals. The goal of our research is to provide biological and therapeutic insights that will help in the development of more effective new therapies for dementia.