Scottish scientists cover 500-mile distance between labs for dementia research

17 May 2021

A team of over 20 dementia researchers will run the distance between dementia research labs across Scotland to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Dr Josie Fullerton at Glasgow University, Dr Fiona Mclean from Dundee University and Dr Mike Daniels at the UK Dementia Research in Edinburgh will lead the event in efforts to raise thousands for dementia research in the country.

The challenge comes during Dementia Action Week (17 – 23 May), a week dedicated to raising awareness of dementia and encouraging people to join efforts to bring about a future free from the fear, harm, and heartbreak of the condition.

Dementia is the UK’s leading cause of death and affects over 90,000 people in Scotland. There are currently no treatments that can stop the diseases that cause dementia, the most common of which is Alzheimer’s. Research is the only way to change this for the growing number of people living with the condition.

The team is challenging fellow scientists in the Alzheimer’s Research UK Scotland Network Centre to cumulatively run, walk, or cycle the distance between the Universities leading dementia research efforts in Scotland.

The Alzheimer’s Research UK Scotland Network is one of 15 Network Centres across the UK which aim to unite the brightest minds in dementia research. The Scotland Network, which has over 200 members from five leading institutions in the country, works to fund new ideas, power collaboration and build capacity in dementia research.

The virtual route is 813 km, just over 500 miles and will start at the University of Dundee. The route takes the team up the coast to Aberdeen, across to the University of the Highlands and Islands in Inverness, before taking the scenic route down to Glasgow. Stopping by at Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Strathclyde and the University of Glasgow via the University of Stirling, before heading across the central belt to Edinburgh to take in Napier, Heriot Watt, The University of Edinburgh and Queen Margaret University. It will then go into Fife to St Andrews University, before the final stretch back to the University of Dundee to complete the challenge.

The team aim to raise thousands for dementia research. To sponsor them visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/runthenetwork

Dementia researcher, and organiser of the event Dr Mike Daniels, said:

“Alzheimer’s Research UK has supported scientists like me and dementia research in Scotland for many years. We know that this funding comes from dedicated members of the public who have decided to take action to tackle dementia by supporting our work. We wanted to set ourselves an ambitious fundraising challenge to give something back to them during these difficult times.

“Dementia researchers from all over Scotland have come together and we’re really looking forward to seeing how everyone gets on with their challenge and hearing their stories. I think it’s going to be tough but it’s totally doable and will raise money for such an important cause!

“Setting up this challenge is a fantastic way to help Alzheimer’s Research UK fund more research in Scotland and make breakthroughs possible. Please support us in our efforts to raise money for an incredible charity!”

The team will be tracking people’s progress and at the end of every day during the week the researchers will tally up the total distance covered by the team and calculate how far the group have travelled.

Speaking about the challenge, Stacy Rowan, Scotland Fundraising Officer for Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“We’re so grateful to these researchers and their incredible efforts supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK. Scotland is a hotbed for dementia research and our scientists have continued to make pivotal strides in research throughout the pandemic, in spite of the restrictions they have faced. Alzheimer’s Research UK has funded over £8 million of research in Scotland, all of it targeted towards transforming lives and bringing an end to the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.

“Dementia Action Week is not just about raising awareness but about taking action, and I would urge anyone who wants to get involved in fundraising for dementia research to contact me at stacy.rowan@alzheimersresearchuk.org

“If anyone as a question about dementia, or the research going on in Scotland to help make breakthroughs possible contact our Dementia Research Infoline. Our team have already handled over 25,000 enquiries and are here to help you. Ring us on 0300 111 5111 or email us at infoline@alzheimersresearchuk.org.”