The Barcelonaβeta Brain Research Center (BBRC) is a research center dedicated to the prevention of Alzheimer's disease and the study of cognitive functions affected in healthy and pathological aging. It was created in 2012 by the Pasqual Maragall Foundation, with the support of the Pompeu Fabra University.
The mission of the BBRC is to provide innovative solutions to decipher and prevent biological changes and cognitive dysfunction associated with neurodegenerative diseases. Due to the aging of the world population, these diseases constitute a global challenge, since for example, in the case of Alzheimer's disease, it can reach epidemic levels in 2050, with a forecast of more than 130 million people affected, if is not found a way to prevent its appearance and development.
In order to prevent neurodegenerative diseases and promote healthy aging, the BBRC has two complementary research programs: the Alzheimer's Prevention Program and the Memory Program. In these two programs are carried out projects of primary and secondary prevention of the disease, of neuroimaging and on the cognitive functions affected by aging, such as memory, learning and decision-making, among others.
The research carried out in the BBRC is based on the data obtained in the Alfa Study, promoted by "la Caixa". The Alfa Study is a pioneering research infrastructure made up of nearly 3,000 cognitively healthy people, between 45 and 75 years old, who voluntarily participate in BBRC research. According to the project in which they participate, these people periodically perform different clinical tests, of cognition and neuroimaging, and have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials of prevention.
The contribution of the Alfa Study participants allows researchers to detect biomarkers that may be related to the preclinical phase of Alzheimer's disease, whose origin can be initiated up to 20 years before the onset of clinical symptoms. This early information is key to prevent cognitive deterioration and acquire a multidisciplinary understanding of the aging process and the pathophysiology of neurodegeneration.
Facilities and team
Most of the Alfa Study's tests are carried out at the headquarters of the BBRC and the Pasqual Maragall Foundation, located on the Ciutadella Campus of the Pompeu Fabra University. Inaugurated in 2016, its facilities have a cutting-edge 3T MRI scanner dedicated exclusively to research, and with the rooms, personnel and equipment necessary to carry out clinical trials and research projects on human.
At the BBRC more than 50 people work in order to detect early Alzheimer's and neurodegenerative diseases, and thus be able to recommend personalized prevention guidelines to each individual that reduces their risk of developing cognitive deterioration.