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Chronic disease is responsible for a major part of our society’s burden of disability. In addition to our research into chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and renal disease we conduct a range of research into other diseases, as well as into the care of people with chronic conditions.

A major focus of this research is into dementia, which is a leading cause of death at older ages and an important social and health care burden. Dementia results from both vascular and neurodegenerative pathologies. The role of vascular risk factors and whether vascular disease prevention affects the risk of developing dementia is unclear. We are investigating factors that may influence the risk of dementia in our prospective studies, including the China Kadoorie Biobank, as well as using long-term follow-up via linkage to electronic health care records in some of our large randomised trials of treatments for vascular disease. These now provide a valuable resource for investigating dementia. Our research is focussed on the aetiological role of vascular risk factors in dementia and on the methodology of assessing cognitive status in very large-scale studies.

We are also collaborating with Kings College, London to conduct two randomised trials (MADE and ATTILA) of interventions designed to improve the care of elderly patients with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as a trial (ATLAS2) of treatment for elderly patients with another serious neurocognitive condition, late-onset schizophrenia.

Once people become elderly they are increasingly likely to have a chronic condition and to be admitted to hospital as an emergency. There is some evidence, however, that hospital care may be potentially harmful due to a lack of mobility and a risk of hospital acquired infection. Our Hospital at Home trial is examining how providing acute care at home compares with admission to hospital.

Projects within this theme