Skip to main content

Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia and affects over 500,000 people in the UK.

It is a progressive disease that damages nerve cells in the brain leading to increasingly severe symptoms over time. The condition mainly develops in old age, but around 4% of people with Alzheimer's disease are under 65.

Since 2004, we have worked collaboratively to understand more about how certain genes affect the likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease. So far over 3,000 people have helped us with our research and as a result we have directed the discovery of over 30 genes that contribute to the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

It is likely that there are more genes to find and so the next step of our research will focus on understanding more about how genes cause and affect young onset Alzheimer's disease. At present, very little is known about why some people develop the disease at such an early age. To improve our understanding of this, we have been conducting the first large-scale study of young onset Alzheimer's disease.

We have recruited almost 2,000 individuals with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as a number of healthy individuals above the age of 80 without any memory problems to help with our research.

This will help us to understand more about the causes of Alzheimer's disease and will help us to improve care, diagnosis and advance treatment of patients. Please note that we are closed to participant recruitment. We hope to publish the results of this research in the next few years.

Dementia research contact

Principal Investigator

Professor Julie Williams

Professor Julie Williams

Director, Dementia Research Institute

+44(0) 29 2068 8326

Our Alzheimer's disease genetics research was run in partnership with the Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research (CADR).

CADR  logo 3