Our first annual conference

View across the Thames from the first Prevent Dementia conference

View across the Thames from the first Prevent Dementia conference

At the end of 2016, we hosted our first annual conference at Doggett’s pub, Blackfriars, overlooking beautiful views of the River Thames. We were delighted to welcome around 50 guests, most of whom were participants in the study. We were also joined by academics involved in the study, researchers and NHS staff working on the project, as well as some representatives from the Alzheimer’s Society.

The conference included talks from many of the scientists leading work in the PREVENT Dementia project, covering everything from brain imaging, cognitive tests and social attitudes towards risk information.

Catherine Morlet, a PREVENT participant and Participants’ panel member said, “This was a great opportunity to find out about the Prevent study and to meet the researchers involved. It is encouraging to know how the data we help to generate contribute to the understanding of the disease. My hope for the project is that more participants will join the study. It would also be great if the conference grows year on year.”

Some highlights of the day include:
• Prof Craig Ritchie offering an engaging overview of the science behind PREVENT Dementia, and why our participants are so integral to the project’s success.
• News that we now plan to recruit 650 participants by spring 2018, across the four research centres – Edinburgh, London, Oxford and Cambridge.
• Learning that follow-up assessments are now being conducted in London, which will allow scientists to compare individuals’ data over time, and find differences between those with a low, medium or high risk of developing dementia.
• Dr Li Su from the University of Cambridge sharing preliminary results from the study’s brain imaging, and these will be shared more widely at events throughout 2017 – such as the Alzheimer’s Association International conference (AAIC) which is being held in London in July
• Prof Karen Ritchie providing an overview of the cognitive assessments being carried out in the PREVENT Dementia programme and explained what these tests will tell us about the earliest changes in cognitive performance.
• Dr Richard Milne from the University of Cambridge sharing results from a focus group study on how people feel about being made aware of their dementia risk.

Prof Craig Ritchie explains the science behind the Prevent Dementia study

Prof Craig Ritchie explains the science behind the Prevent Dementia study

“It was very impressive, especially to gather such a diverse audience. As a study participant, I came away feeling strongly that I was “part of the team”. I think that this team building, and the ongoing high level of communication from the study team, will continue to pay off long term.”
– Study participant

We’re feeling really positive after the conference and looking forward to what 2017 will bring to this ever expanding, critical research project.