Forgetfulness, disorientation, and changes in personality: Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia and is characterized by the presence of abnormal protein deposits in the brain. An interdisciplinary research group at Ulm University is currently investigating the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease-related dementia and is seeking new therapeutic approaches. T
he scientific spectrum ranges from the clarification of the neuroanatomy of the disease process to its cellular mechanisms. The methods used include, among others, innovative molecular imaging and biomarker research. Ulm University Hospital has a laboratory for cerebrospinal fluid diagnostics and clinical neurochemistry for this purpose.
In cooperation with the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, the BIU BioCenter is studying the role of intracellular signal pathways in the development and diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. The central focus of the Parkinson's research in Ulm is the protein alpha-synuclein, which is thought to be the cause of the disease, and the search for reliable biomarkers.
Neuroscientists are not the only ones who have contributed to an improved understanding of neurodegenerative diseases. Anatomists, biochemists, epidemiologists, and neurologists all are part of the research cohort in Ulm: Recently, with the help of cryomicroscopy, scientists at the Institute of Protein Biochemistry were able to reveal the molecular architecture of the beta-amyloid fibrils that are typical for Alzheimer's disease.
The research activities on neurodegenerative illnesses are pooled at the Neurocenter of Ulm University Hospital. Research on aging and, in particular, the "Aging Research Center Ulm University (arc uulm)" serve as overarching framework.
One of the most highly cited neuroscientists worldwide is working at the Center for Clinical Research in Ulm: Senior Professor Heiko Braak, together with Dr. Kelly Del Tredici-Braak, have continued to develop internationally used neuropathological classification schemes for Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. The progression of both illnesses has been divided into different stages based on progressive regional changes in the brain that are typical for each stage. More recently, they contributed to the development of a neuropathological staging protocol for sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.