hero image
Dr Liz Coulthard - University of Bristol. Bristol, , GB

Dr Liz Coulthard Dr Liz Coulthard

Associate Professor in Dementia Neurology | University of Bristol


Exploring the relationship between sleep, dementia and long-term memory

Areas of Expertise (6)



Cognitive Neurology



Elderly Living


Dr Liz Coulthard is Associate Professor in Dementia Neurology in the Bristol Medical School and a specialist in cognitive neurology applied to dementia. Her research goal is to identify and to treat early cognitive deficits in Alzheimer’s disease with the aim of improving quality of life and slowing disease progression. Her current research sees her investigating the use of dopamine in enhancing older people’s sleep and memory. She is also a champion of how proper sleep patterns can bring about significant physical and mental health gains. In 2021, the work of Dr Coulthard and her team was recognised by sleep technology and app design company Dreem, which provided them with specialist sleep measuring devices for their work on the understanding of sleep, circadian rhythms and dopamine in neurodegenerative disease.

After her training as a doctor, Dr Coulthard was appointed as a consultant and has founded a dedicated research group: the ReMemBr group (Research into Memory, the Brain and Dementia), a vibrant and expanding multidisciplinary clinical research group within which clinicians and researchers work side by side.






Liz Coulthard, Neurologist, specialising in dementia Dr Liz Coulthard 'How does poor sleep relate to Alzheimer's Disease?'



Accomplishments (3)

Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians UK


First runner up prize, Queen Square Symposium poster competition


Merit Award in Clinical Pharmacology


Education (3)

University of London: Ph.D. 2008

Royal Free and University College Hospitals Medical School: M.B.B.S. 1999

St John’s College, Oxford: B.A. 1996

Media Appearances (5)

Study explores the impact of lockdown on older people with or without dementia

News Medical Life Sciences  online


Dr Liz Coulthard, Associate Professor in Dementia Neurology at the University of Bristol and neurologist at North Bristol NHS Trust, who is leading the study, said: "We hope to "crowd-source" sleep enhancement strategies so that they can be offered as an online resource for older people.

view more

Research Snapshot: Dr Liz Coulthard 'How does poor sleep relate to Alzheimer's Disease?'

Alzheimer's Brace  online


In this talk, Dr Liz talks about the process of sleeping and how it may be important in preventing the onset of dementia. Sleep is a very active process, one that is complementary to being awake. During the slow-wave stage of sleep, natural brain oscillations may be responsible for the filtering of toxins from the brain. One such toxin is amyloid, a protein which researchers have proven accumulates during dementia. By improving our sleep, we may be able to reduce the amount of amyloid and therefore reduce our risk of dementia.

view more

It's official, napping is good for you and don't let anybody tell you otherwise

Indy100  online


Dr Liz Coulthard, Consultant Senior Lecturer in Dementia Neurology at the University of Bristol Medical School said: "The findings are remarkable in that they can occur in the absence of initial intentional, conscious awareness, by processing of implicitly presented cues beneath participants' conscious awareness."

view more

Short periods of sleep might enhance aspects of memory and thinking

Science Focus  online


Daytime naps help the brain process information that’s hidden from conscious awareness. Neurologist Dr Liz Coulthard of the University of Bristol explains.

view more

Indigestion pills taken by millions 'could raise the risk of dementia by 50%'

Daily Mail  online


Dr Elizabeth Coulthard, a dementia expert at the University of Bristol, said: ‘It is important to identify risks for dementia in order to try and eliminate them. ‘However, this paper does not tell us that using a proton pump inhibitor causes dementia. ‘One important factor that is associated with both proton pump inhibitor use and dementia is body weight and body weight is not recorded in this study.’

view more

Articles (5)

Mixed neuropathology in frontotemporal lobar degeneration

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration

2020 Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a significant cause of dementia in mid-life and older adults. The extent of interactions between FTLD and other neurodegenerative pathologies is unclear. We reviewed the occurrences of mixed pathology in cases of neuropathologically diagnosed FTLD from the UK Brain Bank Network. Materials and methods: Clinicopathological details of cases of FTLD were extracted from the UK Brain Bank Network database.

view more

Sleep quality, mental health and circadian rhythms during COVID lockdown: Results from the SleepQuest Study


2020 Behavioural responses to COVID19 lockdown will define the long-term impact of psychological stressors on sleep and brain health. Here we tease apart factors that help protect against sleep disturbance. We capitalise on the unique restrictions during COVID19 to understand how time of day of daylight exposure and outside exercise interact with chronotype and sleep quality.

view more

Dopamine-gated memory selection during slow wave sleep


2020 The human brain selectively stores knowledge of the world to optimise future behaviour, automatically rehearsing, contextualising or discarding information to create a robust record of experiences. Storage or forgetting evolves over time, particularly during sleep. We sought to test how dopamine shaped long term memory formation before and during sleep.

view more

Measuring brain integrity using MRI: a novel biomarker for Alzheimers disease using T2 relaxometry


2020 Early Alzheimer9s disease diagnosis is vital for development of disease-modifying therapies. Prior to significant loss of brain tissue, several microstructural changes take place as a result of Alzheimer9s pathology. These include deposition of amyloid, tau and iron, as well as altered water homeostasis in tissue and some cell death. T2 relaxation time, a quantitative MRI measure, is sensitive to these changes and may be a useful non-invasive, early marker of tissue integrity which could predict conversion to dementia.

view more

Prospective memory in prodromal Alzheimer's disease: Real world relevance and correlations with cortical thickness and hippocampal subfield volumes

NeuroImage: Clinical

2020 Prospective memory (PM) is a marker of independent living in Alzheimer's disease. PM requires cue identification (prospective component) and remembering what should happen in response to the cue (retrospective component). We assessed neuroanatomical basis and functional relevance of PM.

view more