Project Lead: Lamiece Hassan, Sabine Van der veer, Joanne Taylor, The University of Manchester
Researchers at The University of Manchester have investigated the link between people’s BMI measurements and obesity-related cancers.
Using interactive workshops, researchers at The Farr Institute used feedback from people living with dementia, carers and members of the public to inform decisions about a platform to support future dementia research using ‘wearable’ devices.
Tackling dementia has been identified as an international priority for research. One emerging area of research is exploring how smartphones and ‘wearable’ devices – such as activity trackers, worn on or close to the body – can be used to effortlessly generate detailed data about patterns of everyday activity. In combination with data from other sources (e.g. clinical records), the hope is that this will lead to new insights into the detection, prediction, treatment and understanding of dementia.
Nonetheless, there are still challenges associated with collecting, storing and linking these data. To maximise the potential of this avenue of research, future projects need to be understandable and acceptable to prospective participants, as well as scientifically rigorous.
With funding from DPUK, researchers at The Farr Institute were tasked with creating a ‘platform’ to enable researchers to plan and conduct research using wearables in future.
This included buying a pool of smartphones and wearable devices available for loan and developing software designed to securely receive, store and link these data with other sources. To shape the development of the platform, a series of workshops were held with members of the public, including people living with dementia or cognitive impairments, older people with no memory problems and carers.
As part of these workshops, people had the chance to borrow devices and try them out at home, helping them to reflect on their suitability for future participants.