Making a difference in cerebrovascular diseases, neurodegeneration, multiple sclerosis, and channelopathies
Diseases of the central nervous system include many of the most disabling conditions. These disorders have a great cost to patients, their family and carers, and to society as a whole. This theme focuses on epidemiological, laboratory and clinical research in four major neurological disease areas: cerebrovascular diseases, neurodegeneration, multiple sclerosis, and brain and muscle channelopathies.
Our researchers are studying neuroprotective factors in ischaemic stroke and promoting recovery from stroke. There is also a significant effort into understanding the aetiology of stroke and vascular dementia. This has led to one of our major research impacts; The observation that a TIA or ‘mini stroke’ is an important warning sign of the risk of a having a real stroke.
With an ever ageing population neurodegenerative diseases are becoming a major challenge for society. Our research in this area includes Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and motor neuron disease. Highlights in this area include the first successful trial of brain-computer interface-controlled deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease.
Research within this theme forms a core component of the NIHR funded Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust/Oxford University Biomedical Research Centre which includes research themes on: Cerebrovascular Disease and Dementia, Functional Neuroscience and Imaging and a Cognitive Health Working Group.
Multiple sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder which is widely believed to have an autoimmune component. Oxford has a critical mass of researchers working in this area. This has led to the discovery that an ion channel is involved in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis leading to a positive clinical trial of a drug targeting it.
Brain and muscle channelopathies
Research within this theme has also had a significant impact on the diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune and inherited channelopathies effecting the brain causing encephalitis and neuromuscular disorders.