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Alumni donations help fast track research into dementia

Researcher and microscope
Thanks to donations from Bristol alumni, dementia researchers at Bristol are developing a sophisticated web-based data capture system to collect and store data from patient interviews and assessments, to help promote more rapid advances in dementia research.

The University of Bristol is one of six academic dementia research centres within the ‘Brains for Dementia Research' (BDR) network. Each research centre has its own brain tissue archives, but researchers across the network are currently unable to share information about the brain tissue or the brain donors, because there is no central database – and much of the information is only available in hardcopy proforma sheets and handwritten paper records.

Bristol’s Dementia Research Group is taking the lead in developing a data capture system to help resolve these issues. It will allow real-time collection of data during patient interviews, using touch-screen technology, and immediate upload of the information to a secure central database. The new data capture system will have enormous benefits for dementia research across the BDR network as it will greatly increase the speed, efficiency and accuracy of data collection. It will make the data immediately accessible across the whole network and will remove the need for costly archive facilities for the ever-expanding collection of handwritten questionnaires that are currently used.

Philanthropic support from Bristol alumni has been critical to this project. Donors have raised over £40,000 to fund the development of the database, which will be ready for testing by early summer 2012. Dr Pat Kehoe, Reader in Translational Dementia Research and head of the University’s Dementia Research Group, said “We are immensely grateful for the donations received from alumni and friends of the University. Without their support, this project might never have got off the ground.”

If you would like to find out more about our research into Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, or make a donation, please email us at alumni@bristol.ac.uk (please write ‘Dementia research’ in the subject field) or telephone +44 (0)117 928 7938.