Study Information Sheets

Study Name Participant Information Sheet Informant Information Sheet
PROTECT Download Download
STAP Download


FAQ: General Questions

What will the study achieve?

The study will provide valuable information about how the brain changes with age. It will also investigate which factors in mid-life affect our risk of dementia, such as exercise and diet. This knowledge will help develop better approaches to prevent and treat dementia in the future.

How long will the study last?

Participants will be invited to complete a series of assessments online which will be repeated annually over the next ten years.

Can I opt out of the study?

Yes, once registered you can opt out of the study at any time by selecting the Withdraw from Study option from the My Account section of your dashboard. You will be able to choose whether your personal data that identifies you is deleted permanently. If you permanently delete your data and wish to continue the study after opting out, you will need to re-register and re-enter any data previously submitted.

My question isn't included here - who else can I ask?

You can find details of the PROTECT study within the participant information sheet and informant information sheet but if you still have questions, you are welcome to contact us using the details on the Contact Us page.

FAQ: IT Support

Is my browser compatible?

PROTECT works with all the latest popular browsers including Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari. If you experience difficulties with screen appearance or game behaviour we recommend you check for updates and upgrade to the latest browser version. The browser version can usually be checked using Help->About from your browser menu.

Interactive games and exercises are better played on a tablet or laptop rather than a phone.

Do I need to enable any particular browser settings?

PROTECT generally works without any problems using standard default browser settings. If you experience problems please check your browser settings, the following options must be enabled:

  • Cookies
  • JavaScript
  • SSL or TLS

These can typically be enabled using the Settings or Internet Options menu options in your browser. Please refer to your browser documentation or help if you cannot find these.

Can I use a mobile device (phone or tablet)?

Mobile devices can be used to browse the site, complete assessments and play the interactive games. Because of the limited screen width of some mobile phone devices some of the interactive assessments or exercises may not appear correctly.

Why haven’t I received an email I am expecting?

Please allow up to 24 hours for the email to arrive. If it hasn’t arrived, please check the following:

  • Check the email is not in your junk folder (mark the email as “not junk” to prevent this happening in future – this is usually done by right-clicking on the email in the email list and selecting Unblock, but it will depend on the email reader being used).
  • Make sure our email address ( is in your contacts list.
  • Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may have a spam filter in place which is blocking our email domain. Please contact your ISP if you suspect this is the case and give them our email address ( They can usually add an exception rule to the spam filter.
  • If you are not fully registered and none of the above steps have resolved the problem, please contact us using the details on the Contact Us page.

FAQ: Using your account

I've forgotten my username or password

If you have forgotten your password, please select the Forgot your password? link on the sign-in page and we will send you an email with a link to allow you to reset it.

Your username is the email address you used when you registered. We would have sent an email to this address to confirm your email address when you first registered. This email also included a Registration ID number. If you kept a note of your Registration ID number, contact us using the details on the Contact Us page and we will be able to use your Registration ID number to look up the email address you used to register with us.

My user account has been locked, how can I unlock it?

For security reasons your account will be locked after 3 consecutive failed sign-in attempts. If this happens please wait for at least an hour when you can try again or contact our Help Desk who will be able to unlock the account for you.

How do I change my password?

To change your password please sign-in and select Reset Password from the My Account section of your dashboard.

I have changed my email address; how do I tell you?

To continue receiving our emails please sign-in using your old email address and select Change email address from the My Account section of your dashboard and provide us with the new email address. You will be sent an email to confirm your new email address. You can then sign-in using your new email address as your username.

I have a new home address; how do I tell you?

It is important we have your up-to-date address when sending out DNA sample kits. To update your address please sign-in and select Change address from the My Account section of your dashboard and provide us with the new address.

FAQ: Completing your assessments

I’m going away and can’t complete and assessment before the due date

If you cannot complete your assessments by their due date, we will record a missing data point for the current round of assessments and the assessment will become available in the next round of assessments if it is a recurring assessment.

The assessments become available when you begin the cognitive tests each year so if you are going to be away, you can wait until you return to begin.

What happens if I miss the due date for an assessment?

We would prefer you to complete assessments by their due date or as soon as possible after this, but don’t worry if you can’t, many assessments will still be available for six months. In the meantime, you may receive automated email reminders.

What happens if I’m unable to repeat an assessment when requested?

We would prefer you to complete all repetitions within the available time window as this will give us more accurate data, but don’t worry if you can’t, any data you have submitted is still very valuable to us.

I didn’t finish an assessment and now it won’t let me restart

Some assessments don’t allow you to restart if already started or the time window for completing has expired. If you don’t think your time window has expired, please try again leaving at least 24 hours before retrying. If you cannot restart the assessment any data already provided will have been saved and will still be useful.

Can I retake an assessment?

Once an assessment has been submitted it cannot be retaken. Please review your answers carefully before submitting. For certain assessments you may be given the opportunity to retake it if you have registered a low score, this will appear as a prompt immediately after submission.

FAQ: Playing brain training games

When I start a game, the screen appears blank

We endeavour to make the games compatible with as wide a range of browsers as possible, if the game doesn’t start please check the answer to Is my browser compatible? in this FAQ. If this doesn’t solve your problem, please close all other browser windows and applications on your device and try again. Also, please check that JavaScript is not disabled in your browser settings.

A game freezes in the middle of playing

This is probably a memory or performance issue with your device. Please close all other browser windows and applications on your device and try again. Also check your browser is compatible (see Is my browser compatible? in this FAQ).

If the problem continues please contact us using the details on the Contact Us page.

I don’t understand the game instructions

We have tried to provide clear written instructions for the games. There is also a short, animated clip which appears when the game is selected, usually after a short pause, which demonstrates how to play. You can view the instructions again by clicking on the button with the question mark. If you are still unsure, please contact us using the details on the Contact Us page.

FAQ: Why and how we are transferring PROTECT participant data from King’s College London to the University of Exeter (April 2019)

This information is relevant to all PROTECT study participants who registered on the study prior to January 2019. It gives more detail about the process of moving the PROTECT study management from King’s College London to the University of Exeter, what is happening to your data during this process and what your rights are.

What is happening?

Management of the PROTECT study has moved from King’s College London to the University of Exeter. This is because the Chief Investigator (Dr Anne Corbett) and several other researchers on the PROTECT team are now employed by the University of Exeter. The University of Exeter is now the sponsor of the study, meaning it is responsible for the overall management of the study, including safeguarding of participants and ensuring data is stored and used appropriately. King’s College London is now a research site for the PROTECT study, meaning they will continue to support the study alongside the University of Exeter.

In addition, a new website has been created for the PROTECT study which we hope participants will find to be easier and more enjoyable to use. This website is due to go live for existing participants in Summer 2019, at which point the current website will be closed down. Anyone accessing the PROTECT study will be redirected to the new website.

What will happen to your data?

Your data will be transferred to the University of Exeter. The lawful basis for this process under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR 2018) is to carry out research as a ‘task in the public interest’.

Currently your data is held on a secure database hosted by the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with King’s College London. As part of the move to Exeter we will move all data we currently hold from this database to a new database hosted by the University of Exeter. This will include all personal details, anonymised data from your involvement in the study and genetic data (if you have provided a DNA sample). This transfer will be completed using secure, encrypted data transfer methodology that complies with all data protection and security standards. For more information on how your data will be stored at Exeter please refer to the main Privacy Policy document here: Privacy Policy.

A copy of all of your data will be retained at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust through the ongoing partnership with King’s College London. This data will be accessed by PROTECT study researchers and administrators based at King’s College London to allow them to continue to conduct research analyses as part of the PROTECT study. You can read more about how the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust and King’s College London will store your data by accessing their privacy policy here: Privacy Policy.

If you do not want your data to be transferred to the University of Exeter you can choose to withdraw from the PROTECT study without affecting any healthcare you receive or your legal rights. Your personal data will not be transferred and can be destroyed if you wish. Any anonymised data will be retained for research purposes according to the consent you gave when you joined the study.

What will happen to your account?

You will have received an email asking you for consent to move your PROTECT study account to the new website at the University of Exeter. If you choose to give consent then all your data will be uploaded to the new website. You will receive an email to let you know when you can log onto the new website and continue your participation in the study.

If you do not give consent for your account to be moved then your data will continue to be held at the University of Exeter, but will not be used to create a new account on the new website. If you attempt to log into the new website we will give you the option of re-activating your account, at which point your data will be reinstated on the new website.

If you choose to withdraw from the study then your account will not be moved to the new website. You can choose to destroy your personal details as per the normal withdrawal process for the PROTECT study.

Who has approved this process?

This process has been approved by the Research Ethics and Governance Office and Sponsor Representative at the University of Exeter, and Research & Development Offices at King’s College London and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, operating under the PROTECT study approvals from the London Bridge NHS Research Ethics Committee and the Health Research Authority. The process is compliant with guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office and with the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 legislation.

How can I find out more?

You can find out more about the lawful basis of data processing through the Information Commissioner’s Office website

Additional information is available from the Health Research Authority:

You can contact the PROTECT study team by using the Contact Us page on this website: Contact Us

Our privacy policy is available here: Privacy Policy

FAQ: Informants

What is an informant?

An informant is someone we may ask to complete one or more simple assessments about you, for example how well you perform various tasks now compared to ten years ago. You must have known the informant well for at least ten years, for example a friend or family member, and they must be age 18 or over.

You will be asked to provide the name and email address of a person who can act as your informant during registration or you can add these details later. We will invite them to confirm they are willing to act as your informant and if so, they will register for their own study account. An informant will not be able to view or access any other information you provide as part of the study nor will you be able to view or access any information provided by the informant.

Please note that an informant may already be a participant in the study or can choose to become a participant if they meet the qualifying criteria.

I’m not able to find a suitable informant, is that a problem?

Nominating an informant is an optional part of the study; if you’re not able to nominate an informant, we would still like you to take part as all other assessment data you provide is still very valuable to us.

Can I change or remove my informant?

Yes, please Contact Us and we will withdraw your current informant. You will then be able to nominate another informant on the My Studies section of your dashboard if you want a different informant.

Can I change my informant’s name or email address?

If your informant’s details have changed, they need to login to their account and update their information in the Manage Account section of their dashboard.

FAQ: Cognitive Assessment

What is the PROTECT Cognitive Assessment?

We use a set of eight cognitive tests called FLAME that test your memory, attention and reaction times. These tests have been proven to have more sensitivity and produce better data than previous test batteries we have used. By completing these tests, you will be helping us gather the best possible data to understand how the brain ages.

You can find out more about cognitive assessments by watching our video

Why isn’t my device compatible?

Not all devices are compatible with the PROTECT Cognitive Assessment due to the way the tests have been designed. For example, if you are using a tablet, the screen may be too small, or it may not allow two parts of the screen to be touched at the same time. Before you begin the tests, you will be asked to identify the type of device you are using to check compatibility. Additionally, the browser you are using may be the reason the device is determined to be incompatible. Chrome is the best browser to use regardless of the device.

Why don’t I have to do three sessions of cognitive tests each year anymore?

Previously, we asked you to complete three sessions of cognitive tests per year but we have decided that by adding a short practice test and one full-length session we will collect enough data without adding the extra burden of completing these long sessions three times per year. This will also reduce learning effects from year to year.

Can I see the Cognitive Assessment instructions again?

You can watch a video demonstration of the cognitive tests. Flame Cognitive Test System Showcase (

Can I use a mobile phone to do the Cognitive Assessment?

The PROTECT Cognitive Assessment works on many devices, including some mobile phones. We are working on making it available more widely and you can check again next year if you only have an incompatible mobile phone.

How can I change my browser?

To download a different web browser, you need to go to the browser manufacturer’s website or use your Tablet’s "App Store" and get the latest version of it.

NEVER download a web browser from anywhere other than the official website or store - you risk getting viruses, malware or spyware otherwise. The following link provides a list of all the places you can download the latest versions of some of the most popular browsers available today: Try a different web browser

How will you analyse FLAME results with the previous test results?

We can use the data from the FLAME cognitive tests to determine whether, and how, your cognition is changing over time. All the tests in FLAME have previously been part of your PROTECT cognitive tests offered in the study. It doesn’t matter if you have previously completed all, or just some, of these tests. We will use the data we have and analyse it with the new FLAME tests to assess change over time.

I am concerned about my performance on the cognitive tests.

The cognitive tests are designed to be challenging to help us see how participants are performing. Most participants perform better than they think, so please do not worry.

If you have a concern about your memory or your brain health, please contact your GP. In addition, there is excellent support from the Alzheimer’s Society, please click the following link for more information: Alzheimer’s Society

Can I take a break during the tests?

We prefer that you complete the tests in one sitting. We understand this is not always possible so you can take a quick break if you need to. Click the 'Exit' button at the bottom of the screen and select the option to take a break. You only have 50 minutes to complete the tests from when you start the session so the tests may expire if you don’t resume them in time. If you do need to take a break, you should try to finish the test you are on before exiting because the partially completed test will be repeated when you resume.

How long do the tests take?

The tests take 25-45 minutes to complete. For each sitting, you will have up to 50 minutes to complete the tasks from the time you click 'CONTINUE' so please ensure you have enough time and are comfortable before starting.

Can I switch between using my computer and tablet?

For best results, you should use the same device type each year.

However, if you have technical difficulty or another problem and can no longer use your chosen device to complete the tests, please contact the team at as soon as possible to allow us to resolve the issue.

Can I take the previous version of the Cognitive tests?

The previous version of the Cognitive Tests is no longer being used by PROTECT. We are working on making FLAME available more widely, therefore, if you are not able to complete the tests this year because your device is not compatible, you can check again next year.