Alzheimer’s Research UK to invest £500k into research priorities in sport and brain injury, identified in a joint report with HPP

16 August 2022

Download the report
Today, The Health Policy Partnership (HPP) and Alzheimer’s Research UK launched a report outlining four research priorities to help address knowledge gaps around the links between sport, physical activity and risk of dementia. The priorities were identified with input from 25 experts in dementia, sports and epidemiology, and are supported by leading UK sporting bodies, including the Football Association and the Rugby Football Union.

Dementia is a condition that affects nearly 1 million people in the UK. It is well evidenced that participation in physical activity is a protective factor against developing dementia, but researchers have also found that some former professional sports players are at an increased risk of developing dementia. However, there has been limited evidence to determine why this is the case and how the risk could be addressed.

Alzheimer’s Research UK will be investing £500,000 to initiate activities to address the priorities in the report, titled Dementia and sport: research priorities for the future.


‘We are proud to have worked closely with experts from the sporting, clinical and scientific fields as part of this joint project. One in three people born today will develop dementia in their lifetime. We believe the collaborative, consensus-driven research conducted by The Health Policy Partnership and Alzheimer’s Research UK represents a critical juncture in the way we seek to better understand the relationship between sports, physical activity and the risk of developing dementia.’

Christine Ridout, Associate Director of Research and Policy, The Health Policy Partnership

The four priorities laid out in the report are:

  1. Establish an international research consortium with research teams and funders from around the world.
  2. Develop a varied panel of biomarkers that could help detect and manage both traumatic brain injury and the risk of neurodegeneration.
  3. Conduct long-term studies that monitor specific populations for several decades and look holistically at the factors that may influence neurodegeneration.
  4. Explore traumatic brain injury outside of elite sports and understand risks in underrepresented groups such as children, females and people playing grassroots sports.


‘It’s good to see Alzheimer’s Research UK take the lead on understanding the links between sport and dementia. Witnessing first-hand the devastation that dementia poses to individuals, their families, and friends, it’s about time people got around the table, and worked toward greater understanding so we can act with certainty.’

Hayley McQueen, TV presenter, Sky Sports News


Download the report below and read the full press release on the Alzheimer’s Research UK website.
Download the report


Find out more on our project page and on the ARUK website.