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Dementia Research Chatathon Live takes place online

Monday 07 September 2020

It is no secret that charities’ incomes have been substantially affected by the corona virus pandemic. Across the world dementia charities are a substantial contributor to research, funding discoveries in all areas of science, care research and practical support for people living with dementia and their families. In the United Kingdom, Alzheimer’s Research UK and Alzheimer’s Society have both suspended funding calls until early 2021, and as a result there will be fewer PhD Students and new Fellows this year. Adam Smith, Programme Director within the UK NIHR Office of the National Director for Dementia Research decided to put his professional experience and connections to use personally, and help, creating the Dementia Research Chatathon Live.

On 7 September, Mr Smith hosted a marathon 12-hour live-stream session, talking with 56 researchers and four special guests. The aims of the event were to share information with the public on some of the important research taking place, and to raise much-needed funding for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Throughout the day, over 2,000 visitors attended the session, to watch and ask questions via YouTube, Zoom and Periscope. Donations totalled GBP 3,800 (approx. EUR 4,180) and Mr Smith is continuing to work towards meeting his GBP 5,000 (EUR 5,500) target.

“Researchers are doing amazing work, and I wanted to give people a chance to see some of the wide range of research taking place. Looking at prevention, improving care, diagnosis, discovering what goes on in the brain, new treatments and research to improve care homes, and evidence how activities such as art can help”, said Adam Smith. “I was able to group up the researchers, and talk in 30 minute segments on a massive range of topics, and recordings of each session are now available through the Chatathon website. I hope that people will watch these, and hopefully continue to donate to help meet our ambitious GBP 5,000 target”, he commented.

Those interviewed on the day included Chris Roberts, Vice-Chairperson of our own European Working Group of People with Dementia (EWGPWD). Chris gave his perspective on research, sharing a message on the important role that research and charities play. Information on the event, the recordings and details on all the guests can be found at