Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions


The PROTECT Study is an exciting new approach to research into brain health in older adults. It aims to understand how the brain ages and how we might reduce the risk of dementia and mental health issues in later life.

PROTECT harnesses the power of online technology, collecting data from thousands of people over 50 through a dedicated website. This data allows our researchers to analyse what factors affect how our brain ages. We know that certain factors such as exercise, smoking and blood pressure affect our risk of dementia, and there is increasing evidence that our genes also play a role.

Participants in PROTECT provide information about themselves and complete online assessments to measure their cognitive abilities such as memory and reasoning. By repeating these assessments each year we monitor how they change over the study. Participants also provide a sample of their DNA through a simple at-home kit to allow us to conduct cutting-edge genetic studies.

PROTECT participants also have the opportunity to take part in exciting research into brain health and ageing. Some of the studies already underway include:

  • A 25 year study exploring how brain function changes as we age
  • A genetics study examining the role of our genes on brain ageing and risk of dementia
  • Clinical trials of online brain training programmes and whether they improve brain function and reduce risk of dementia
  • Clinical trials of new approaches to improve brain health, including physical exercise and dietary supplements

PROTECT is a collaborative project between the University of Exeter and King’s College London. 

Visit the PROTECT study website

Research team

Name Role
Professor Clive Ballard Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean, University of Exeter Medical School
Annette Allen Database Architect
Samantha Bielby PROTECT Study Administrator
Adam Bloomfield Lead Developer
Dr Anne Corbett Senior Lecturer in Dementia Research
Dr Byron Creese Senior Research Fellow
Ellie Pickering Study Coordinator
Megan Richards Healthy Minds Registry Research Administrator
Professor Keith Andrew Wesnes Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience
Ben Wood Senior .NET Developer