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Multidisciplinary teams are pursuing investigations into the complex ‘comorbidity’ risk factors in dementia.

Attendees share ideas on day one of the DPUK datathon in Swansea

By 2pm on the first afternoon of the Swansea datathon, attendees were tasked with  developing studies which address some of the most pressing questions in dementia research today: what other diseases play a role in dementia? What other risk factors are there? What is their role in the disease progression? Thanks to two recent datathons there is already one new formal research proposal in the Data Portal.  DPUK’s senior researcher and Data Manager is supporting the other datathon teams to develop their research studies too.

By bringing people together from a range of backgrounds the DPUK datathon sparks a lot of new ideas in dementia research. It’s thanks to the big variety of skills and experience that attendees offer. At the Swansea datathon, researchers with expertise in the behavioural mechanisms and biological aspects of dementia were working together with data scientists and experts in machine learning.

One of the datathon participants, said: “We've formed a good partnership here at the DPUK datathon. We're looking to pursue this project further and bring it up to publication standard. I'm looking forward to working with Sarah's support to do that."

Ashley Akbari was one of the cohort scientists who presented at the DPUK datathon: “There’s been some excellent learning and understanding achieved by all the teams and organisers over the past few days. Lots of discussions around the use of the Data Portal and the associated data sources available, with a real interest in the ongoing opportunities that DPUK offers.”

Chris Orton, co-lead of of the DPUK datathon said: “It was impressive to see how much the teams at the DPUK datathon were able to present after such a short time in the DPUK Data Portal. It’s a very exciting time for the next wave of research studies in dementia in general.”

Datathon co-lead and DPUK’s Senior Data Manager, Dr Sarah Bauermeister, says: “This is the approach that will bring us the new insights we so desperately need for dementia. I’m thrilled with the result so far. There was great energy in the room and I’m delighted to see how early career scientists are benefitting from these events, gaining useful experience in working with big data and learning from their peers too.”

This morning a new DPUK datathon kicks off at the University of East Anglia – a new set of researchers, new skills, new datasets, new questions and new ideas. And very likely a new set of investigations into dementia too. 

Photo credit: Population Data Science at Swansea University