How can we help millions understand dementia in 5 minutes?


By Kirsty Marais | Friday 13 August 2021

We live in an information age. Knowledge on almost any topic is just a quick search away, and news updates are delivered as stories are still unfolding. But it can sometimes be difficult to know how to make sense of all the information that’s available to us. That’s especially true for a subject like dementia, where misunderstanding is rife. And that’s where Alzheimer’s Research UK comes in.

Our research programme is a vital part of our work, but it’s not all we do. We also work to improve public understanding of dementia, and we do this in many ways. Our events help bring research to life, and our Dementia Research Infoline provides vital information to those who need it most. Our awareness campaigns tackle misconceptions about dementia and show how we can keep our brains healthy.

And one way we try to reach as many people as possible is by working with the media.

The journalists we work with include health correspondents, feature writers, TV producers and more. It’s our job to help them make sure their stories are both accurate and compelling.

This often requires a lot of work behind the scenes that keeps our Communications team very busy. So this year we’re hugely grateful to have pro bono support from broadcast experts BF media. The BF media team have generously given their time for free, helping us secure TV and radio coverage on a range of topics. This support for our work is invaluable, and helps ensure our messages reach even more people.

Lifting the lid on dementia and research progress

A large part of our media work involves helping to put new research findings into context. Reporters often turn to us for an independent view on the importance of new studies, and how they add to existing evidence. We regularly put our experts to work commenting on new developments in drug discovery, diagnosis and prevention.

This expert comment really matters, as it helps people to make sense of the headlines. In a five-minute TV interview, we can help millions understand how a new study impacts their lives, or how they can influence their dementia risk.

It’s also important to help journalists show the reality of how dementia affects people. Too often, dementia is written off as an inevitable part of ageing, or simply ‘a bit of memory loss’. But our supporters know that nothing could be further from the truth. So we’re indebted to our brilliant Media & Communications Volunteers, who help us by sharing their experiences of dementia. Their personal stories highlight the condition’s true impact and the need for life-changing treatments.

Olive on Sky News

Our supporters’ incredible fundraising exploits also help keep Alzheimer’s Research UK’s work in the headlines. Coverage of challenges like Frank Rothwell’s Atlantic row, or Major Mick’s ‘Tintanic’ adventure, has inspired hundreds to donate or do their own fundraising.

And our media work keeps dementia research on the political agenda. Our campaign for fair government funding for dementia research has reached many more people thanks to news coverage. MPs and policymakers watch the news too, so these stories help deliver our message to those in power.

Want to know more?

To keep up to date with the latest stories about dementia, you can find more on our news pages. You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter to have the highlights delivered to your inbox.

Do you have a question about a dementia story you’ve seen in the news? You can contact our friendly Dementia Research Infoline team on

And if you’re affected by dementia and have a story to share, let us know. Visit our volunteering pages to learn more about becoming a Media & Communications Volunteer.


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About the author

Kirsty Marais