Knowledge Exchange Fellowships

The Knowledge Exchange Fellowships are a new set of grants from Alzheimer's Society that aim to enable collaboration between researchers in different countries.

The grantholders will work in partnership with Alzheimer Nederland and dementia researchers in the Netherlands. Researchers in both the UK and the Netherlands will be able to benefit from each other's expertise and data. 

We have funded four projects, investigating different key areas in the cause, care, cure and prevention of dementia. 

How improving wellbeing can help people to live well with dementia

UK Lead Investigator: Dr Gill Windle
UK Institution: Bangor University

Partner Investigator: Prof Rose-Marie Droës
Partner Institution: Vanderbilt University Medical Centre

Scientific Title: Enhancing resilience and quality of life through arts and science research

People living with dementia may experience feelings of unhappiness and isolation. This can be exacerbated when the person is also affected by other long-term illnesses.

This project aims to bring together and build on three sets of data. Two of these studies - one based in Wales, another in the Netherlands - are investigating health and wellbeing in older people over a long period of time. Comparing these two datasets will improve knowledge on how factors that improve wellbeing can affect thinking and memory over time. 

The third study is a recent project called 'Dementia and Imagination'. This project used community art events to improve quality of life and wellbeing for people with dementia across England and Wales. Dr Windle and colleagues will re-analyse the data collected from this study to look at how it did or did not affect participants. They plan to assess whether 'Dementia and Imagination' activities can help people to live well with dementia and improve their quality of life. They will be particularly looking at resilience, which means someone's ability to maintain a sense of wellbeing even when they are affected by dementia or other chronic illnesses.

The researchers will combine their existing data and expertise to investigate whether measuring resilience may be a new way to try to gauge someone's wellbeing, as it has not been studied much before. In addition, it may indicate how well the Dementia and Imagination project is working and inform care and support strategies. This information will help build a similar programme for the Netherlands.

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