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Approved research

The interrelationship of cardio- and neuro-vascular disease: associations with progressive brain atrophy and cognitive decline

Principal Investigator: Dr Josephine Barnes
Approved Research ID: 37375
Approval date: May 30th 2019

Lay summary

We will assess heart and brain disease using UK Biobank scans. We will make new measures of brain disease including disease that is likely to be caused by blood vessel damage. We will also measure brain shrinkage. We will look at whether people with more heart disease have more brain disease and problems with thinking. We will also look at whether those with a particular genetic make-up have both heart and brain disease. Our results will be useful in understanding whether those with heart disease are likely to develop dementia. If successful this study will find markers that identify ?at risk? groups who require closer monitoring for the earliest signs of dementia. If such groups are those with heart disease then this may change the prognoses given to such individuals. Novel genes may indicate new drug targets which may have an impact on disease progression. Findings may inform clinical trials for new dementia treatments: this may be novel drug targets, the selection of individuals recruited, and the markers used as primary and secondary outcomes. Similarly, findings may influence prevention strategies and public health policy with regards to dementia. We will use brain imaging to measure disease associated with blood vessel damage and also to measure brain volumes. Change in these measures will also be calculated. One novel aspect of this study is that we will look at the microstructure of the white matter of the brain to assess whether disease in the white matter which is not observable on traditional brain imaging gives us more information about brain health and its relationship to heart, blood vessel health and cognition. Measurements of the heart which will be used in this study have already been generated for cross-sectional analyses. We will use 5000 participants which were selected for a previous application (number 2964) for the cross-sectional study. We will also use the first 2000 individuals selected for the longitudinal imaging study.