Scientists draw up data ‘wish-list’ as wearable technology plays prominent role in world-first dementias research project

Posted on October 14, 2015

workshop for dementias research project

HeRC are delivering a key strand of the Dementia Platform.

Researchers from across the public and private sector gathered in Manchester recently to help scope out the development of a revolutionary new data hub that will accelerate research into dementia, a disease which directly affects 670,000 people in the UK.

Hosted by the Health eResearch Centre at The University of Manchester, this half-day workshop allowed the UK’s dementia research community to outline their information requirements from a newly approved web-based data-processing facility that will form a key aspect of the Dementias Platform UK (DPUK).

Developed by the Medical Research Council, DPUK is a multi-million pound partnership that will enable rapid advancement into dementia research.  The Platform will fast-track scientific understanding of dementia as researchers aim to improve the prevention, detection and treatment of dementias.

By combining a variety of data from different studies DPUK will provide an unmined quarry of new evidence for the UK’s dementia research community, fuelling new investigations into the disease which is predicted to affect one million patients by 2025.

One of the features of DPUK will be the ability to collect, organise and collate information from different sources including data from new and innovative technology such as wearable devices.  Alongside an overview of the DPUK, this week’s workshop encouraged those attending to get hands-on with a wide range of the latest wearables and specify how and why the information harnessed from the devices could be beneficial to their research.

With the ability to passively capture health information (from heart rate and sleep patterns to information about movement and wellbeing), wearable tech has the possibility to revolutionise science’s understanding of dementia.  Through a variety of structured brainstorming sessions and informal discussions delegates specified the need for a flexible online data hub with the ability to evolve over time, in line with advances in technology.  This data-portal will sit within the wider Dementias Platform.

Other ideas discussed at the workshop included gathering data that could be used to identify early-signs of symptoms, information that could help support medication adherence and the ability to link wearable data with other types of information contained within DPUK.

“DPUK is a huge opportunity to truly drive forward the pace of progress in dementia research.  With unparalleled depth and breadth this scientific resource will allow researchers the opportunity to work together and share resources in order to advance dementias research.

The recent workshop in Manchester will lay the foundations for an important arm of the Dementias Platform.  By engaging with the UK’s research community we are able to build a resource from the ground-up in partnership with those people who can help translate the data into tangible health benefits.” – Prof. John Gallacher, Director of the Dementias Platform UK

The feedback from the workshop will help developers in the final stage of the DPUK design and build.

The view all the photos of the event please click here.



Notes for editors:

  1. For more information about the Dementias Platform UK please visit
  2. The Health eResearch Centre (HeRC) is delivering large scale, population wide health research by harnessing the power of information and technology.

Led by The University of Manchester and bringing together research excellence across the North of England (in partnership with the universities of Lancaster, Liverpool and York) the Health eResearch Centre is increasing the pace of progress in the UK’s health sector by turning under-used health information into new knowledge.

The Health eResearch Centre – People | Data | Methods

For more information please visit our website #datasaveslives

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