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2016 Conference Presentation

Dementia International

6 September 2016

Systematic mapping of the evidence on what works on dementia: who researches what?

Dave McDaid, PSSRU, London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom


Background: There have been many calls for an increase in funding and in capacity to undertake research on dementia around the globe. Regardless of any additional funds that are made available, choices will always have to be made on research priorities. This process can be helped by better understanding the current state of research.

Aims and Methods: We have therefore sought as part of the ESRC Modem project to systematically map applied research on dementia over the period 2009 – 2015 around the globe, by searching a number of electronic databases supplemented by searches of selected research websites in order to identify trends in research theme, capacity strengths and weakness across countries, as well as areas of innovation. Studies could focus on people with dementia or their informal or professional carers. All types of empirical study design were eligible for inclusion, but basic biomedicine and genetic research were not included; there were no country restrictions but all material had to have an English language abstract. More than 1,500 research studies have been included on an online searchable database.

Capacity for research remains concentrated in a small number of high income countries, with little reported in eastern Europe. There is a growing literature from China, much of which is linked to use of complementary medicine approaches. Recent innovations include literature on the use of digital technologies, many different types of supports for carers, and combinations of different psychological and social interventions.

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