PSP Research & Trials UK

We are thrilled to announce a major investment by the Medical Research Council in PSP Research. They have committed to over £600,000 for a new UK study that aims at improving the treatment of symptoms of PSP. Although PSP can be physically very disabling, many people are also affected by cognitive and personality changes. These can have a major impact on the quality of life and safety of the person with PSP, and their carers.

Despite the slow and stiff movements caused by PSP, people can also become paradoxically impulsive and reckless. For example, rushing to try to get up, cramming food while eating, or "jumping to conclusions" without enough thought for the consequences. Impulsivity is risky with PSP as it can increase the risk of falls, and choking.

The new study is based in Cambridge, with Prof James Rowe and Dr Luca Passamonti, amongst others, using the most advanced technologies in MRI and pharmacology. They will link impulsivity to the brain’s version of adrenaline (called noradrenaline), in living patients with PSP and in those who have donated to the Cambridge Brain Bank. The new ultra high field “7T” scanner can see detail as fine as a grain of sand, much better than traditional scanners, and in critical parts of the brain that are very unclear on normal MRI scanners.

In the second part of the study, they will invite patients to take part in a study using a drug that boosts noradrenaline in the brain, which they have shown can reduce impulsivity and reduce rigid or inflexible thinking. The Medical Research Council’s decision to support this study confirms the researchers’ belief in its potential to improve treatments for common cognitive and behavioural problems in PSP, which will remain important even as new studies begin to try to slow the illness down.

Prof Rowe said: “This significant investment by the MRC reflects a growing momentum in PSP research. We are delighted that they have recognised the importance of studies aiming to provide alleviation of symptoms, generating a valuable impact on patients’ and carers’ quality of life.”

Your support allows us to continue funding early-stage studies that provide the foundations on which applications to major funders like the MRC are based.

11 Replies

  • Thank you for the great news.

    I suspect you are PSP Association Staff... If so could you sign off as that to make it clear that this is a PSP Assoc. Announcement?

    Having said that what the PSP Assoc has achieved in the past few years is beyond miraculous!

    Going with my assumption:

    A very deep thank you and yes we continue to support with sponsored events and donations.

    A deep thank you.


  • No Kevin, I'm not staff my mum has PSP. I usually post either info or updates on PSP because there is so little out there, it was on Facebook yesterday.


  • Thank you am2015

  • Very interesting! We are having big trouble with impulsivity and rigid thinking here, so this is a welcome line of attack!

  • My mum became very impulsive as well, unfortunately she has progressed very fast now and is now bed bound with virtually no speech. Her cognition is also very impaired now. I hope this will help others in the future, but will most likely be to late for dear mother.

  • Well thank you am2015!

    It's great news.

    I'm sorry to hear about your mother.

    It will be too late for many of us I fear.

  • So true.

    Atleast there is hope for the future, so that more families don't have to face PSP.

  • That's great news.

  • Thank you am2015 for reposting our FB post. PSPA were due to post on HU today so thank you again.

  • This reach is much needed!!! Like many carers i find the impulsivity is a huge challenge and if this could ever be managed the quality of life even in a life limiting condition would be improved during this phase of the illness.


  • Fantastic,! X

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