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Aston University ARCHA programme wins £400,000 funding for four PhD students for new dementia research

by Leah Llano

The Aston Research Centre for Health in Ageing (ARCHA) at Aston University has received £400,000 in funding to recruit four PhD students for a dementia research programme.

Four students will work on the Aston Brain Health Cohort Study (ABaHCoS), which will research tests for the early detection of dementia before symptoms become apparent. Two of the students will be funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust and two will be funded by the College of Health and Life Sciences at Aston University. Recruitment will begin in January 2024 and it is expected that the PhD students will start in October 2024.

The students will work to develop simple tests that can be administered as part of an eye test, hearing test, GP health screening visit or even in the home. These methods will span psychology, neuroscience, biology, and medicine bringing a multifaceted approach to the detection of dementia.

New treatments are becoming available for dementia, but they work by slowing progression of the disease and are therefore most effective when used early. By detecting the disease before symptoms become apparent, individuals will be able to adopt beneficial lifestyle changes, while health providers will be able to identify individuals for follow-up monitoring and treatment.

The ABaHCoS project will sit within ARCHA, the mission of which is to is to understand, predict, prevent and treat age-related degeneration and disease. The Centre has a specific focus on health, metabolism, the mind, and medicines in the context of the biology, psychology, and clinical aspects of ageing. Its cross-disciplinary team of researchers specialise in biology, psychology, medicine, pharmacy and allied health sciences.

Professor Andrew Schofield, Director of ARCHA, said:

“Having a group of four students studying different aspects of dementia diagnosis at the same time makes this multidisciplinary project really exciting. The students and their supervisors will work as a team, exchanging ideas and creating new avenues for research.”

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