On Friday 25 January 2019, DPUK formally launched Great Minds – a specialist register for volunteers in dementia-focused clinical research. Great Minds brings together participants from population health studies and makes their extensive health data available to researchers looking to fast-track discoveries for new dementia treatments.
Working collaboratively with the Airwave Health Study – Imperial College’s population health study of members of the police force – Great Minds is running a pilot to establish the readiness of the Airwave participants to join Great Minds. Professor Paul Elliott, Principal Investigator of the Airwave study points out: "The biggest health problem the UK faces is dementia so we are delighted to partner with Great Minds to identify the causes of dementia and help develop new treatments."
We know that the causes of dementia start decades before symptoms show, and so the best people to help study these causes are healthy volunteers with background health information. Population health study participants are ideal, as they have provided background health data – sometimes going back years – as part of their original study.
Two million people in the UK have contributed to health studies, providing an amazing wealth of data including demographics, medical history, lifestyle, genetics, and test results. Great Minds aims to bring these people and their data together so that we can match them and their interests with clinical research aimed at accelerating the development of new dementia treatments.
We expect findings from the Great Minds pilot to be available in early March and anticipate that they will compare favourably to our estimate that 10% of participants will join Great Minds. With 38% of the UK population knowing a family member or close friend with dementia and 62% of people saying they would be willing to take part in dementia research, we dare hope that we may attract more to join Great Minds.