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Wolfson Centre for Prevention of Stroke and Dementia

We increase understanding of the causes of cerebrovascular disease and improve the prevention of stroke and vascular dementia in routine clinical practice.

Centre for the Prevention of Stroke and Dementia

The Wolfson Centre for the Prevention of Stroke and Dementia (CPSD) is the UK’s first purpose-built research centre focussed specifically on prevention of cerebrovascular disease. The CPSD builds on the Stroke Prevention Research Unit (SPRU), which was founded by Professor Rothwell in 2000 and was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in 2014 in recognition of the impact of our research on healthcare.

The CPSD building was funded by peer-reviewed capital grants from the Wolfson Foundation and the Wellcome Trust and was officially opened in March 2020. The Centre provides 2000 M2 of research space, including a clinical research facility, laboratory support and housing for our cohort studies, clinical trials and biobanks. The CPSD currently has 40-50 research and support staff and is one of the most productive cerebrovascular research groups in the world. 

A key feature of the Centre is the focus on both of the main clinical manifestations of cerebrovascular disease. Stroke and dementia are the most common neurological causes of premature death and disability in adults and frequently co-exist, each increasing the risk of the other. Cerebrovascular disease contributes to the majority of cases of dementia at older ages and dementia increases the risk and severity of stroke. Stroke and dementia also require similar research resources (e.g. brain imaging, elderly controls) and so parallel protocols can reduce costs. Moreover, since end-organ damage due to vascular disease is amenable to prevention, the vascular contribution to neurodegeneration needs to be better understood. Our mechanistic research programme therefore focuses on vascular risk factors, arterial stiffness, white matter disease, and cerebral perfusion, and our clinical research programme aims to improve prevention and outcome by better understanding of known vascular risk factors and more effective use of existing treatments.

As vascular disease is rarely limited to one organ, the Centre also has research programmes focusing on coronary artery disease and peripheral arterial disease and on topics common to vascular disease at all sites, including hypertension and the risks and benefits of aspirin and other antithrombotic drugs.