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Winter 2017
Daffodil in snow
Welcome to this late winter addition of the PROTECT newsletter. We hope you all are enjoying some warmer weather, finally!
Update on the study
One-year follow-up questionnaires: The official media launch date for the PROTECT Study was the 2nd of November, 2015. This means that many of you will now have been asked to complete your one-year follow-up questionnaires, and the vast majority of you have done so. Thank you for this!
To give you an idea of completion rates - at the time of writing this newsletter, 9,970 participants (out of 15.676 who are eligible) have submitted at least one part of Cognitive Test Package 1. If you have not submitted your outstanding assessments, we ask you to do this at your earliest convenience, although it is perfectly acceptable to delay starting any of the assessments for a short time.
Informant questionnaires: If your informant is not able to access the questionnaires we are asking them to complete on your behalf, please make sure that they are signing in to the website with their own username (which is their registered email address) and password. If you are unsure of your informant's username, please contact the Helpdesk. Please note that having an informant is not mandatory, and if you have not nominated one it will not impact on your participation in the study.
New Study Available Soon 
START is a study that will become available to all PROTECT participants within the next few weeks. 
START refers to, "Short-term intensive grammatical reasoning cognitive training for older adults: A randomised controlled trial." It will involve participants completing one online task over a six week period. We ask that you complete the task at least three times a week, but you can log in as often as you like. One session will last around three minutes.
You will be encouraged to continue playing the task for six weeks. We will also ask you to complete cognitive tests before starting the trial, after two weeks, and after six weeks.
We will send out an email with more information about how to enrol closer to the time, so please keep an eye on your inboxes. The study will be open to 7,300 participants only.
Latest publication
wesnes cognition logo
We are happy to present to you the findings from the first paper that has been published as part of PROTECT. This aspect of the study focussed on investigating the validity of an internet-based system for measuring changes in cognitive function. While there are some true advantages of an online testing system (for example, reaching people who are not otherwise able to attend testing in a clinical setting) we need to be sure that our measures are useful, reliable, sensitive and valid.
For this paper, we focussed on the CogTrack™ System. You will recognise this as the cognitive assessment that takes you to the third-party website. The CogTrack™ System monitors changes in important aspects of cognitive function using tests of attention, information processing and episodic memory.
During the first six months of the study, 14,531 individuals aged 50 to 94 years performed the CogTrack™ System, 8,627 of whom completed three test sessions. Repeated testing showed familiarisation effects on four of the ten measures which had largely stabilised by the third test session. This means that as participants became more familiar with the tasks, they performed better. We see this when cognitive tests are performed in a laboratory setting, so it is great that the online system reflected this too.
We know that cognition naturally declines with age, resulting in abilities such as memory and attention ‘slowing down’. Evaluation of the influence of age identified clinically relevant declines over the age range of the population on one or more measures from all tasks. Again, we want the online system to reflect results obtained in a clinical setting, so these results are positive in terms of the utility of online testing.
The results of these analyses identify CogTrack™ to be a practical and valid method to reliably, sensitively, remotely and repeatedly collect cognitive data from large samples of individuals.
We will continue to update all participants with exciting new findings.
If you would like more information about the above study, please visit:
Changes within the PROTECT team
I am very sorry to say that I will be leaving the PROTECT team as my time in the UK has come to an end. The Helpdesk will be passed over to the capable hands of Maria Megalogeni, who cannot wait to get to know you all! All the best, take care!
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