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Spring 2016
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Welcome to the first edition of the PROTECT newsletter. We aim to use this feature to keep you updated on the progress of the studies, and to provide you with information related to the latest developments in research into the brain, including dementia.
Update on the study
Firstly, the PROTECT team want to thank you so much for the time and effort you have already put in to the study. Your involvement provides valuable information about how the brain functions, and how it changes over time. This will inform future research to prevent conditions such as dementia.

We had an absolutely incredible response from participants following our main launch. We now have over 20,000 participants fully registered for the PROTECT study – a number far exceeding that which we were expecting! Thank you for bearing with us during the busy period following the launch. The study is definitely still open to new participants so if you have any friends or family members who you think would like to take part please let them know.

Due to the overwhelming response from participants, there have been delays with sending out the DNA sample kits, which are sent out in randomised batches. If you have not received yours yet, please rest assured that it will be with you in due course. If you have received your DNA kit but have not yet had a chance to send it back to us, please do so when you can.
Meet the team
The PROTECT team is made up of many people from different backgrounds, and we would like to introduce you to just a few of them!
Dr Ann Corbett
Dr. Anne Corbett
Laura McCambridge
Laura McCambridge
Kavya Devaraju
Kavya Devaraju
Dr Eddy Suàrez
Dr. Eddy Suàrez
The lead researcher for this study is Dr. Anne Corbett. Anne is the Senior Lecturer in Dementia Research for King’s College London.
The people who answer your queries by phone and email are Laura McCambridge and Kavya Devaraju. Laura and Kavya are part of the Clinical Trials Team at the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases, King’s College London.
At the BioResource (who look after your DNA samples) you can contact Dr. Eddy Leandro Almira Suárez, a Research Worker at IoPPN, King’s College London.
Robert Stenton, of Manta Software Limited, designed and developed the computer software for the PROTECT study, and supports the Helpdesk with technical queries.
Dr. Adam Hampshire, a Senior Lecturer, and Eyal Soreq, a Resarch PhD student, from the Computational, Cognitive & Clinical Neuroimaging Lab of Imperial College London designed and implemented the brain training games. 
Latest news
Dementia awareness boost planned for over 40s
Doctor talking to patient
The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has announced plans for family doctors to start assessing patients’ dementia risk from the age of 40. The NHS health check will include a discussion about patients’ current lifestyles, and the steps they can introduce to reduce the chance of dementia.

Hunt said that the NHS needs to do far more to help people reduce the risk of dementia, by making lifestyle changes early.

Dr. Anne Corbett comments, ‘This is a positive step from the government, which fits with their commitment to improve dementia diagnosis, treatment and care across the UK. The most valuable aspect of this move will be to raise awareness about dementia risk amongst both GPs and the public. Taking steps to reduce your risk of dementia is most important in mid-life, although it’s never too late, or too early, to start.’
Older people can halve their risk of dementia by gardening, dancing or going for brisk walks
Older person gardening
A new study shows that a variety of physical activities can improve brain volume and cut the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 50%.

The longitudinal study, conducted by researchers at the UCLA Medical Centre and the University of Pittsburgh, is the first to show that virtually any type of aerobic physical activity can improve brain structure and reduce Alzheimer’s risk. Exercise that increased grey matter included a wide variety of interests, including gardening, dancing and riding an exercise cycle at the gym.

The lead author, Cyrus A. Raji, MD, PhD commented, ‘We have no magic bullet cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Our focus needs to be on prevention.’

Dr. Anne Corbett comments, ‘This new study adds further weight to the existing evidence which clearly shows that physical exercise is the best way of reducing risk of dementia. There is no one-size-fits-all approach so the best idea is to regularly engage in a physical activity that you enjoy and that raises your heart rate.’
New figures show only 25% of British adults think dementia can be reduced
Two people cycling
Prof. Alistair Burns, National Clinical Director for Dementia at NHS England is calling for greater awareness of the risk factors of dementia, following a new poll showing only a quarter of British adults think it is possible to reduce their risk of developing the condition.
Currently there are no treatments to stop or slow the progress of Alzheimer's disease or other dementias, but research suggests there are measures people can take that may reduce their risk of dementia.
Dr. Anne Corbett comments, ‘This is a concerning statistic, indicating a lack of awareness amongst the UK’s adults. We hope that new initiatives from the government, as well as large studies like PROTECT, will help spread the word about the real difference people can make in reducing their risk. The best ways of reducing risk are through physical exercise, good management of blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking and staying socially active.’
What is the BioResource?
BioResource logo
Our BioResource is a research initiative funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in collaboration with NHS services and academic institutions.  Our aim is to build up a central library of clinical and biological information from as many volunteers as is possible, who are willing to be approached to participate in research studies and trials on the basis of their information.
Our BioResource is used in mental health and neurological research to help us better understand why different illnesses happen and how we can develop better treatments from them. We collaborate extensively with researchers and clinicians from King’s College London and its partner hospitals. We are very excited also to be working with the PROTECT study as our BioResource would like to represent the general population as well as people with diagnoses of mental and neurological disorders.
We currently have over 16,000 volunteers with samples stored within the BioResource. In the next 12 months, our goal is to recruit 5,000 volunteers. We hope that you might be able to assist us in reaching our target by helping us recruit new volunteers by telling your family and friends about us.
If you know someone who you think will be interested in helping in the research like you did, please ask them to contact us on 0207 848 5381 or email us at bioresource@kcl.ac.uk
If you would like more information about the BioResource, please visit http://www.slam.nhs.uk/research/patient-involvement/current-opportunities/bioresource or
Contact us
We are delighted with the success of the PROTECT study so far, and have a number of exciting additional studies in the pipeline for the future. We hope you will continue to be involved and take up any opportunities that are interesting to you.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact the Helpdesk team if you have any queries or comments. 
T: 020 7848 8183