Neurodegenerative and Neurocognitive Disorders

Neurocognitive disorders are a major global health concern. Given the lack of major breakthroughs in disease-modifying medication, coupled with ageing of our population, early detection and exploration of factors that delay or prevent the clinical onset of neurocognitive disorders are of great importance. For the past few decades, our department plays key roles in conducting prevalence studies of dementia and neurocognitive disorders for Hong Kong. We have also conducted long-term cohort studies to explore physical and lifestyle risk factors for late-life cognitive decline. From the perspective of developing adjuvant interventions, we have studied the effects of physical exercise, cognitive training, and non-invasive brain stimulation to optimize cognitive reserve and functioning in the context of neurodegeneration.

We have also researched genetic predisposing factors and early detection of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease as well as the clinical response to cholinesterase inhibitors in the local Chinese population. Apart from our study of Alzheimer’s disease, a novel parasomnia, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behaviour disorder (RBD) is highly predictive of future synucleinopathy neurodegeneration, the second most common neurodegenerative disorder. Our long-term goal is to facilitate the search for biomarkers that predict the onset of neurodegeneration and to develop strategies for its prevention.