Professor Peter St George-Hyslop explains how Alzheimer’s disease affects those with the condition and outlines the consortium’s strategy to uncover the molecular mechanisms by which accumulation of amyloid beta and/or tau leads to death of brain cells in AD and related neurodegenerative disorders.
Read about the research programme of Prof. St George-Hyslop and his team to discover the molecular mechanics of how genes and environmental effects lead to the death of nerve cells in the brain.
Prof. JOHN HARDY, 2014 laureate, and his team identified the very first gene that can cause early onset of Alzheimer’s disease, which appears well before the age of 65. He now hopes to make a similar breakthrough in the study of late onset Alzheimer’s.
"We would like to discover the genetic risk factors for late onset Alzheimer ’s disease. It would help us break the disease into different sub-types. This is important because ultimately each sub-type might respond to different forms of treatment and different regimes of prevention.
We suspect a rich interplay between genetic and environmental factors. We do get worse at metabolising the amyloid protein as we get older, so if we have a mutation in the amyloid gene responsible for making it, that might be enough to push us over the edge."
KRZYSZTOF CZYZEWSKI, 2014 laureate, explores life in a modern city, a dying city whose backbone is broken, whose inhabitants are reconnecting with an "old civilization" to create a new heritage as a way of finding themselves in the present in order to have prospects for the future.
"...we are here in modern times, in democracy, in market economy, in the process of European integration... But to
be honest, we have found ourselves on the debris of a forgotten civilization which occupies its
outskirts and constitutes its subcultures. We can perceive that 'we have still got slits in the walls,
devastated roofs, trees growing out of the staircases, some remnants of stained‐glass windows
and marble panels under our feet' (Andruhovich)."
"This is a story that reaches deeper than our childhood, down to prenatal memory, down to
the world of the old civilization, which is, however, a great mystery of our childhood and
maturation. That is why we always seek for connections with it, in the same way as we seek for
reality. The story stops today, at the suspended question about our identity, at the expression of a
sense of lack, which makes us uneasy."
"...we look through the slit into the depths of the old civilization, we look for ourselves
for the supportive philosophy. We have found ourselves in the outskirts, among the ruins and the
abandoned buildings which once served as an ideal place for our childhood games. And the same
mystery is tempting us, we are still the participants of the same journey, when we ask today who
we are, when more and more clearly we realize where the keys are and how we can open the
gates of our city in order to enter inside and come down to the heart of it. "
PIERRE NORA, 2014 laureate, analyses the changing relationship between History and Memory over time in his scholarly article published in Eurozine, April 19, 2002, and ends with a quote from Nietzsche and a warning: "There is a certain degree of sleeplessness, of rumination, of [memorial] significance beyond which any living creature is threatened with collapse, and in the long run destroyed, whether it be an individual, a people or a civilization." It is this message left by memory that we also need to remember.
"...the way in which a society, nation, group or family envisaged its future that traditionally determined what it needed to remember of the past to prepare that future; and this in turn gave meaning to the present...
For the other effect of this "acceleration of history" [increasingly rapid change, an accelerated precipitation of all things into an ever more swiftly retreating past], is to abruptly distance us from the past - we are cut off from it. We no longer inhabit that past, we only commune with it through vestiges ... since they hold the key to our "identity", to who we are.
We can only recover it by reconstructing it in monumental detail with the aid of documents and archives; in other words, what we today call "memory" - a form of memory that is itself a reconstruction - is simply what was called "history" in the past. We are dealing here with a radical and dangerous shift in the meaning of words, a shift itself characteristic of the spirit of the age. "Memory" has taken on a meaning so broad and all-inclusive that it tends to be used purely and simply as a substitute for "history" and to put the study of history at the service of memory.
The idea that memory can be collective, emancipatory and sacred turns the meaning of the term inside out. Individuals had memories, collectivities had histories. The idea that collectivities have a memory implies a far-reaching transformation of the status of individuals within society and of their relationship to the community at large."
"Creativity ... the ability to grasp the essence of one thing, and then the essence of some very different thing, and smash them together to create some entirely new thing.
The role of the human is not to be dispassionate, depersonalized or neutral. It is precisely the emotive traits that are rewarded: the voracious lust for understanding, the enthusiasm for work, the ability to grasp the gist, the empathetic sensitivity to what will attract attention and linger in the mind.
Unable to compete when it comes to calculation, the best workers will come with heart in hand."