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Far-sighted scientists as far back as the 1920s recruited volunteers for the first cohorts. In the UK today we have over 50 different cohorts, with volunteers providing an amazing wealth of data which may be the key to unlocking the current deadlock in developing treatments for dementia.

Understanding dementia needs detail

Unpicking the complex interaction of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that play a role in dementia requires large datasets and long-term records. Cohort volunteers offer researchers a resource of unprecedented detail that makes a huge difference to dementia research.

The clues in the cohorts

Much of the data collected by different cohorts is useful for studies of dementia today. Many cohorts collect blood samples, others conduct annual brain scans and many hold genetic data. All these different types of data, and more, are critically important for the scientists making inroads in understanding the deterioration of brain health. 

DPUK brings cohorts together to offer new hope in dementia research

The different sets of cohort data tend to be stored in the university which originally established the study. As a result, this global wealth of research data has been left split up and inaccessible to researchers in other institutions who may wish to work with it.

DPUK is working with 47 different cohorts to bring all this valuable data together on the Data Portal, making it available to bona fide researchers worldwide. - John Gallacher, Director of DPUK

What data do cohorts collect?

  • brain scans: MRI and PET
  • blood tests
  • hospital records and GP records
  • lifestyle questionnaires
  • cognitive tests

Cohorts store all this data anonymously so no individual is ever identifiable. Together every individual's data creates patterns that can give scientists important information.

Find out more about DPUK data security