One in three people born today will develop dementia in their lifetime: it's the biggest health challenge of our generation. With one million people predicted to have dementia by 2025 in the UK, and a current cost of £26bn a year to the UK economy, there is huge financial and societal impact, yet we’re still without treatment.
Data scientists from many different backgrounds combined their expertise to take on dementia in an unusual format for disease research: a three-day datathon. The intensive research event saw teams come together to work on data that is now available in the DPUK Data Portal.
Thanks to leaps forward in computing power, DPUK is able to harness highly advanced technical solutions to maintain data security and non-identifiability of millions of existing health records in the Data Portal. It’s a model that is globally unique for dementia research and one that’s increasingly attracting attention from other sectors.
Thanks to the generosity of two million health studies volunteers, there is new hope for accelerating the discovery of treatments for dementia. Their combined data – lifestyle, genes, memory tests, and brain scans – are helping researchers identify changes over time which will reveal how dementia starts in healthy brains.
Body-worn sensors used by people with mild Alzheimer’s to assess walking could offer a cost-effective way to detect the disease early and monitor its progression.