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Great Minds cohort studies

Great Minds is a register that can be joined by participants in existing cohort studies that have a relationship with Dementias Platform UK.

These studies have different purposes, but all of them have a focus in helping to understand the development of dementia or related symptoms. Some of these studies are ongoing, but some are now closed.

Below is some further information on the studies that have agreed to introduce their participants to Great Minds.

Early Onset AD Genetics cohort

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia. Numbers are expected to double within the next generation, resulting in over one million people with AD in the UK alone.

It is vital we understand the causes of AD quickly to allow the development of preventative and therapeutic interventions. We have good evidence that genes play significant roles in AD development and that there are several remaining to be found.

This research study will use new technological advances to test the influence of every human gene on the risk of developing AD. The success of this approach depends on using very large samples of AD cases and controls. The study is the largest genome-wide association study of AD worldwide and is expected to identify 20 new risk genes and disease pathways.

For further information please visit the cohort website.

Airwave Health Monitoring Study

The Airwave Health Monitoring Study was established to evaluate possible health risks associated with the use of TETRA, a digital communication system used by the police forces and other emergency services in Great Britain since 2001.

It is a long-term observational study following up the health of the police force with respect to TETRA exposure, and has the ability to monitor both cancer and non-cancer health outcomes. Prior to the study, no epidemiological or occupational research had investigated whether there are short-term or long-term health risks associated with TETRA exposure.

For more information please visit the cohort website.

HealthWise Wales

HealthWise Wales aims to:

a) create a register of volunteers who are ready to participate in research studies,

b) actively engage the population of Wales in health and social care research,

c) develop a cohort to investigate the widest possible range of social, environment and biological determinants of health and wellbeing during the life-course, and evaluate interventions for effectiveness.

For further information please visit the cohort website.

Aberdeen Children of the 1950s (ACONF)

The Aberdeen Children of the 1950s are 12,150 people born in Aberdeen between 1950 and 1956. When they were in primary school, they took reading and maths tests as part of a study carried out by the University of Aberdeen. The goal of the original study was to discover the causes of learning disabilities. The children's test results were linked to other school records and to birth records in the Aberdeen Maternity and Neonatal Databank.

For more information please visit the cohort website.

Brains for Dementia Research

Brains for Dementia Research (BDR) is an initiative funded jointly by the Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK to address the shortage of brain tissue that is so essential for research into dementia.

Brain tissue is collected alongside clinical and cognitive information gathered in life. BDR currently includes six brain banks, with standardised procedures for brain handling over the sites to ensure consistency across the sites.

For further information please visit the BDR website.

EPAD: European Prevention of Alzheimer's Dementia Consortium

EPAD: the European Prevention of Alzheimer's Dementia Consortium was an interdisciplinary research programme spanning public and private sector organisations across Europe, with 39 partners, and which ended in October 2020.

Among its achievements is the establishment of a longitudinal cohort study that has screened over 2,000 participants and has collected a wide range of cognitive, clinical, neuroimaging and biomarker data to help further our understanding of the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

For further information please visit the cohort website


Researchers at the University of Bristol have launched SleepQuest, a new nationwide study to investigate this important area.

By hearing from a wide variety of people across the UK, the study team hopes to gain a better understanding of how short-term stress impacts long-term sleep.

This will allow researchers to learn what effect the coronavirus pandemic is having and create advice on how to manage sleep throughout this crisis and beyond, to help people protect their sleep both in the short and long term.

Disturbed sleep now may have an impact on current and future health for all – in particular those at risk of dementia.

For further information please visit the study website.