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Clinical and Biomedical Sciences

PROTECT Study: Research to support healthy ageing and reduce dementia risk

What is the PROTECT Study?

The PROTECT Study is an exciting approach to ageing research. 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 40 through a dedicated website. This data allows our researchers to analyse what factors affect how our brain ages, including our genes, lifestyles and medical history.

PROTECT also provides an online platform to conduct research into new treatments to reduce the risk of dementia.

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

What does PROTECT involve?

PROTECT is a 25 year study in people over 40. Participants provide information about themselves and complete online assessments to measure their brain function. By repeating these assessments each year we monitor how they change over time. Participants also provide a sample of their DNA through a simple at-home kit to allow us to conduct cutting-edge genetic studies.

Participants also take part in exciting affiliated studies into brain health and ageing.

Portfolio Studies

Some of the studies already underway through the PROTECT platform include:

  • VitaMIND: A clinical trial of Vitamin D supplementation in people at risk of dementia
  • COGNIT: A clinical trial of a beetroot dietary supplement to investigate its impact on oral microbiome and cognition
  • START: A clinical trial of online brain training games in healthy older adults
  • Nested data collection studies to explore the role of cognition in key medical issues including autism, Covid-19 and brain injury
  • Over 60 collaborative projects that are using PROTECT data to conduct research into healthy ageing and cognition

PROTECT data for research

PROTECT has collated a database of cognitive and health data in 25,000 older adults since its launch in 2014. Data is available for use via a Data Access Request process. To find out more email the PROTECT data team.

Research team

Name Role
Professor Anne Corbett Chief Investigator
Professor Clive Ballard Co-investigator and Clinical Lead
Ellie Pickering Project Manager
Megan Richards Project Coordinator
Kelly Hodge Project Coordinator
Freya Bateman Project Coordinator
Pattie Liakos Data Manager
Adam Bloomfield Lead Developer
Kathrine Yeo Project Administrator
Monica Meng Project Administrator
Jack Lewis Software Development
Steve Lewis Senior Developer
Joshua Spector Developer
Abbie Palmer Data Manager
Cassie Leicester Administrator
Kate Stych Research Administrator
Shanice Tulloch Trial Coordinator

GP listening to patient

The PROTECT study is open to volunteers aged 40 and over. It will last at least 25 years.

Dr Anne Corbett describes the PROTECT studya large, online platform for research to help people live healthier lives in older age.