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CRICBristol hosts the DOPAMIND study

4 April 2017

CRICBristol is set to begin hosting the DOPAMIND study (Targeting dopamine to treat impaired memory consolidation in neurodegenerative disease), a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial led by Dr Elizabeth Coulthard and PhD student Hanna Isotalus.

Many people living with memory problems – which are often caused by dementia – do not benefit from currently available drugs which target a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine due to its role in memory.

Evidence from previous research suggests that another neurotransmitter called dopamine may play a role in storing memories during sleep.

Dopamine is a naturally occuring chemical in the brain, and the aim of this project is to discover if drugs that increase its prevalence are able to improve memory.

Volunteers will make four separate visits to CRICBristol while taking part in DOPAMIND. These will include an MRI scan, and three overnight stays in the Sleep Studies Suite, where they will undergo memory tests.

Before going to sleep, the participants will be given a type of medication that increases levels of dopamine in the brain, or a placebo. They will also be asked to complete a week-long sleep diary ahead of each overnight stay.

The study is initially recruiting healthy volunteers aged 65 or over, but will also involve participants with Alzheimer's disease (AD) or mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

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