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Dementia is a name for a group of diseases causing reduced brain function. Francesco and Patrick will introduce two types of dementia: Prion disease and Alzheimer’s disease. This is an excellent event for anyone who wants to learn something new about dementia and hear about the research that scientists are doing at the University of Reading. Suitable for all audiences - no science knowledge needed.
What do mad cows, Nobel prizes and cannibalism have in common?
The answer is prions, small infectious lumps of protein that spread through the brain causing rare neurological diseases. In this talk I will discussing the fascinating history of prion diseases, explaining how the detective work worthy of Sherlock Holmes revealed the unconventional nature of prions. On the way we will meet tribes from Papua New Guinea, a family from Italy that cannot sleep and, of course, mad cows - as well as learning that prions might be relevant to some of the biggest health challenges of today, such as dementia.
Of mice and men: the pre-clinical study of dementia
Dr Francesco Tamagnini (Lecturer in Pharmacy)
The brain works through electrical impulses, and the most common feature of dementia is the death of neural cells. In my lab we ask 'what happens to the electrical activity of the survivors?' In the time it will take you to drink your pint (more or less!), I will talk about my research on the alteration of electrical impulses in the brain of genetically modified rodents, expressing genes associated to the development of dementia. I will show how these results, combined with mathematical models and clinical data, are important for developing new therapeutic approaches for Alzheimer’s Disease.