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The inaugural (April 2021) edition of the Great Minds members' newsletter.

Great Minds lead Dr Ivan Koychev

Welcome from Dr Ivan Koychev

It is with great pleasure that I am able to share with you an update on our Great Minds project and advances in the field of brain health through our new newsletter.

With every new study reporting on dementia risk, it becomes clearer that this is a decades-long condition in the making. We can now determine whether a person will likely develop Alzheimer’s disease in 10-15 years’ time.

While this thought may be daunting, it also points to the opportunity we have to intervene in the years before people start to experience symptoms. Research registers, such as Great Minds, that allow scientist to reach out to people who may be at risk are emerging as the front-runners in the race to bring an end to dementia.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down the opportunities for face-to-face research that we can offer, we have been working hard behind the scenes to expand Great Minds and the options we offer to take part in projects from the comfort of your own home.

We remain grateful for your continued support and look forward to working with you on a variety of exciting research opportunities addressing the largest unmet need in medicine today: an effective treatment for dementia.

Dr Ivan Koychev, Great Minds lead

Great Minds membership reaches nearly 5,000

The coronavirus pandemic has unfortunately reduced the number of research opportunities we have been able to offer our members over the past year. However, we have been able to expand our membership nearly twofold (to just under 5,000) thanks to the remote nature of our assessments.

Read our news story.

Three new cohort studies join Great Minds

We are delighted to announce that three cohort studies have recently invited their members to join Great Minds: SleepQuest, Aberdeen Cohort of the 1950s, and Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics cohort. Welcome, and thank you for your support of Great Minds!

See our cohorts.

Join us at the next virtual event for Great Minds members

Our third Great Minds members’ event will take place on Thursday 20 May 2021, streamed live online. Professor Marcus Richards (UCL) will talk about risk factors for cognitive decline, and Professor John Gallacher (Oxford) will present on strategies for healthy brain ageing. Keep an eye out for more details in your inbox.

Catch up on our first members' event.

Sundowning: the condition with symptoms that appear at sunset

Have you heard of a phenomenon called ‘sundowning’? Usually seen in people with mid to late-stage dementia, sundown syndrome is the appearance of regular behavioural changes such as agitation and confusion as light levels change towards the end of the day.

Read more on our blog.

Hearing aids may protect against progression to dementia

New research from scientists at Ulster University and Dementias Platform UK has found that people with mild cognitive impairment who use hearing aids to address their hearing difficulties have a significantly lower risk of going on to develop dementia – and they experience a slower cognitive decline.

Read our news story.

The time is right to focus on pre-clinical dementia

Writing on The Conversation website, Great Minds lead Dr Ivan Koychev says now is the time to focus on tackling dementia in its ‘pre-clinical’ stage – before symptoms start to appear. That’s thanks in large part to the development of trial-ready volunteer registers such as Great Minds.

Read more on The Conversation.

Frontotemporal dementia: a common young-onset dementia

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is the second most common form of young-onset dementia, and affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. There are several different subtypes of FTD involving changes in behaviour, personality and language skills.

Read more on our blog.

Audio interview: the future of dementia research

We caught up with Professor John Gallacher, Director of Dementias Platform UK and Professor of Cognitive Health at Oxford University, to get his thoughts on the current state of play in dementia research – and what the future might hold.

Listen to the interview.

Get in touch

Would you like to ask us something about the Great Minds initiative, or about dementia or dementia research in general?

Email us at greatminds@psych.ox.ac.uk.