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DPUK’s next datathon – the second to be held virtually – will take place from 16-27 November, it has been announced today.

Three participants at a Swansea datathon discussing their project.

The event will see an international group of data scientists and dementia researchers apply their skills to real-world cohort data in the DPUK Data Portal.

Participants from a range of backgrounds will team up with DPUK’s experts to generate new research-based insights into dementia – one of the biggest and longest-standing public health challenges facing societies around the world.

Despite advances in understanding since Alzheimer’s was first identified over a century ago, there is still no effective treatment or way of preventing or delaying the onset and progression of the diseases that cause dementia. With an estimated 50 million people living with dementia worldwide, there is an urgent need to understand the elusive early stages of the condition.

The idea behind DPUK datathons is to stimulate creative thinking, kick-start new dementia research and support innovative studies in the Data Portal that will lead to new insights and publications. The Data Portal is a globally unique resource giving bone fide researchers access to more than 3 million records from over 40 cohort studies.

During the datathon, participants will analyse information from a host of detailed datasets – including BRACE, PREVENT, the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and Generation Scotland – in the Data Portal’s secure remote desktop environment. By looking back in time across people’s lifespans, participants will be able to use a range of statistical, data analysis and machine learning techniques to search for patterns that can give us vital clues about the onset and progression of dementia.

The theme of November’s datathon will be ‘early determinants of later-life cognition and dementia’.

Dr Sarah Bauermeister, Senior Data and Science Manager at DPUK, said: ‘Our most recent datathon event in June – the first to be held virtually following the coronavirus outbreak – was a huge success, bringing together more than 20 researchers from a variety of backgrounds and locations.

‘Taking our DPUK datathon series online has meant researchers still have an opportunity to try out the Data Portal in a collaborative environment and apply their skills in multidisciplinary teams to a hugely important area of health research.’

DPUK’s datathons are a joint initiative with Alzheimer’s Research UK and the DEMON Network.

Visit the datathon webpage for further information and to apply to join.