PROTECT Study newsletter banner
Autumn 2017
There is no better time to say Thank You and wish you a very happy Holiday Season
Season's Greetings and a warm welcome to the Autumn Newsletter
Welcome to this late autumn edition of the PROTECT newsletter. We hope you are all well and are looking forward to the holidays!
Update on the study
It was in November 2014 that PROTECT was first launched to the general public. Since then we have seen a massive and wholehearted positive public response to a project that started with a handful of participants. Through word of mouth and your willingness to take action in advancing dementia research, the PROTECT platform is now comprised of a stronghold of 24,000 participants and 16,000 informants. With our numbers still rising we are hoping to reach as many people as possible. Should your neighbour, loved one or colleague at work be looking to volunteer, we would love for PROTECT to be their New Year’s resolution! All they would need to do is go to the PROTECT homepage and click on REGISTER.
 
2017 Annual PROTECT Main study assessments: Starting last month, over 14,000 participants will be asked to complete their annual PROTECT Main study assessments. While many of you have already started them – many thanks for this – we understand that with the holiday season ahead of us this may not be an option for all. Please do not feel pressured to complete these particular assessments over the Christmas period, as they can be completed in the New Year without issues.  During this time, we kindly ask that you ignore any automated emails asking you to complete the assessments, as unfortunately we cannot turn them off.
 
*Completing START study assessments over the holiday period: With the START project launching in March 2017, many of you are now due to complete your final assessments as part of this project. Unfortunately, unlike the PROTECT Main study, the deadline to complete your START assessments is much shorter. Should you have outstanding START study assessments please complete them as normal by the date specified in the automated email. Although these assessments can’t be delayed, you can choose not to repeat Cognitive Test Packages 3 & 4. Completing them just the one time will be more than enough for our records.
 
Kings College London closure dates: King’s College London and with it the PROTECT study helpdesk, will be closing at 16:00 on Thursday the 21st of December for the holiday period. Our helpdesk will re-open on the 2nd of January 2018. Should you need assistance during this period, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions section on the PROTECT webpage (troubleshooting FAQ).
 
New studies in 2018: The New Year will see the launch of a number of small and large scale projects in areas such as exercise, adult neurogenesis and the effect of social relationships on health and wellbeing in later life. We have not yet finalized our launch dates, we will however contact you when the time comes. 
 
♦ ♦ ♦
 
Other than extending our thanks to our invaluable participants, we would also like to thank our sometimes forgotten but definitely not less valuable, study informants. Thank you to ALL for a great 2017, and wishing you a prosperous 2018 ahead.
 
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us here at PROTECT!
Latest news
Berries, wine and a Mediterranean diet can help halve the risk of Alzheimer's Disease
Mediterranean diet
A new diet, known by the acronym MIND, could more than halve a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to new research.
 
The 'Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay' (MIND) diet includes at least three daily servings of wholegrains and salad – along with an extra vegetable and a glass of wine. It also involves snacking most days on nuts and eating beans every other day or so, poultry and berries at least twice a week and fish at least once a week. The MIND diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets, both of which have been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions, like high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. These 'brain-healthy foods' were found to lower the risk of Alzheimer's by 53 per cent in those who stuck to the diet rigidly, and 35% for those that followed it moderately well.

Professor Martha Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist of the Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago, and co-creator of the MIND diet, said: 'One of the more exciting things about this is that people who adhered even moderately to the MIND diet had a reduction in their risk for Alzheimer's disease.’ Professor Morris also continued to say: 'Blueberries are one of the more potent foods in terms of protecting the brain,' adding that strawberries have also performed well in past studies on the effect of food on cognitive function.
 
Professor Dag Aarsland, Chair of Old Age Psychiatry at King’ College London, comments: “There is increasing evidence that a person's lifestyle can influence the risk for dementia, and food intake is definitely among the most interesting ones. Among the many arguments for a healthy diet is the potentially reduced risk for dementia. We are planning several studies here at King's to explore the effects of specific dietary elements on the risk for dementia, some of which we are happy to say will be launched through the PROTECT platform.” 
 
Tai Chi your way to a healthy brain
Running, walking, yoga and tai chi have all been shown to “significantly” boost brain power in the over 50s. But experts say almost any exercise leaving you breathless helps, with the benefits evident irrespective of the current state of someone’s brain health.
 
A team of Australian scientists reviewed the records of 12,820 people in their 50s and found taking up moderate or vigorous exercise improved brain capacity, the ability to process information quickly and memory. In particular, aerobic exercise like running, swimming or walking, significantly enhanced cognitive abilities while resistance training, like weights, had a “pronounced effect” on working memory. Yoga and tai chi also improved mental function which is seen as important as they are types of exercise suitable for those unable to undertake more challenging forms of activity.

Dr David Reynolds, Chief Scientific Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “This study underscores the link between exercise and brain health and, in line with guidance from the NHS, supports the idea both strength exercises and aerobic activity can be beneficial for people as they get older.”
 
Μillions think exercise means spending hours in the gym but the reality is a brisk walk, a game of tennis or swimming all form part of an active lifestyle.
 
Although clear explanations are lacking regarding why some people and not others develop dementia, targeting known risk factors as well as making healthy lifestyle options may help prevent or forestall the disease. 
Helpful reminders about the PROTECT study
  • From time to time, PROTECT correspondence finds its way into our participants spam folders. To quickly check if you have new assessments to complete, go to the PROTECT sign-in page and enter your username and password. If you have outstanding assessments but never received an email from us, go to your email account and add admin@protectstudy.org.uk to your list of contacts.
 
  • If you find that your informant has a pending assessment but they have not received an email from us or they have mistakenly deleted it; all they need to do is go to the PROTECT sign-in page and enter their username and password.
 
  • As our assessments are memory hungry you may find that your device is slowing down or that an assessment is not responding as it should be. What has helped participants in the past is:
    • Closing all other browser windows/ web pages that don't need to be open in the background.
    • Closing other applications (ie Word documents, PDFs)
    • Using a different browser (this is what you use to access the Internet, ie Google Chrome, Safari).
    • Restarting your device
    • Switching to a laptop/ computer if one is available.
    • Checking your internet connection.
    • Refrain from using the backspace arrow on your keyboard, as this ‘confuses’ the system.
Find out more...
You can now keep up-to-date with dementia research, as well as read up on fascinating findings from an array of other scientific areas (schizophrenia, addictions, autism and much more), through our PROTECT Newsfeed:
 
Contact us
As always, please do not hesitate to contact the Helpdesk team if you have any queries or comments. You can do this by using the "Contact Us" page on the website, or by calling or emailing us directly.
 
T: 020 7848 8183       
 
To give us feedback about this edition of the newsletter, or about the PROTECT study in general, please TELL US HERE