Biomarkers and Diagnosis
It is vital that the development of new treatments for neurodegenerative disorders is done hand-in-hand with improving early detection of brain disease. Understanding the earliest changes that occur in the brain of people with ageing-related neurological disorders will help us identify early signs of disease. These may also reveal new targets for therapeutic strategies to halt or slow disease progression.
BRNZ researchers are hot on the trail of biomarkers (biological signs of disease, as found for example in brain images or the blood) that will enable us to identify which people are on the cusp of significant brain dysfunction. If we can detect disease early, this will allow clinicians to deliver even current treatments more effectively, before major brain damage has occurred.
BRNZ is funding a raft of biomarker studies for Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and frontotemporal dementia using animal models, human cohorts and computer modelling. Our researchers are also analysing blood samples from people in different stages of disease for diagnostic molecules, while others are using MR imaging and EEG analysis of brain function to identify early changes in brain function predictive of disease onset.