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University of Edinburgh

Understanding Brain Health: Preventing Dementia

University of Edinburgh via FutureLearn


Advance your knowledge of dementia prevention with Brain Health Scotland

This course offers an up-to-date exploration of dementia prevention, from early disease detection to positive brain health promotion.

50 million people worldwide currently live with dementia. This number is projected to increase to over 150 million by the year 2050.

A dementia diagnosis represents an advanced stage of disease, with the brain diseases that lead to dementia actually beginning many years before symptoms emerge. This provides a window of opportunity to reduce the risk of dementia by proactively protecting our brain health.

Learn about risk factors for brain disease

On this course, you’ll explore the pathological processes which underpin the diseases that lead to dementia.

You’ll learn how we can predict and detect these brain diseases earlier by managing our own personal risk factors and designing interventions to improve brain health health across the life-course.

Explore the latest developments in brain health research

This course has been created by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with Brain Health Scotland and is endorsed by Alzheimer Scotland.

With access to up-to-date brain health and dementia research, you’ll learn about the design of clinical trials for identifying interventions to prevent dementia.

You’ll also explore how health data can be collected and used to develop risk prediction tools for degenerative brain diseases and inform personalised prevention plans.

Promote positive brain health

In order to look towards a future without dementia, public health initiatives must evolve to promote positive brain health for everyone.

Through engaging with this course, you’ll build the skills to evaluate the cultural shift required to move away from thinking of dementia and late-stage disease and towards prioritising brain health throughout life.

This course will appeal to anyone interested in understanding ways to tackle the dementia epidemic and protect brain health through proactively addressing risk factors and early disease detection.

The course is also designed for healthcare professionals looking to advance their professional development and build knowledge of the latest evidence-based brain health practices.


  • Brain Biology
    • Welcome to the course
    • How does the brain work?
    • What goes wrong in the brain to cause degenerative diseases?
    • Week 1 summary
  • Risk Factors
    • Welcome to Week 2
    • Risk factors for neurodegenerative disease
    • Focus on: Nutrition
    • Researching lifestyle interventions
    • Week 2 summary
  • Brain Research
    • Welcome to Week 3
    • Disease before dementia: measuring early disease trajectory
    • Research cohorts
    • Capturing cognition
    • Developing better drugs
    • Deciphering data
    • Week 3 summary
  • Global Movement
    • Welcome to Week 4
    • The diagnostic journey
    • Brain health clinics: Healthcare services of the (near) future
    • Thinking globally
    • Prioritising brain health throughout life
    • Week 4 summary

Taught by

Craig Ritchie


4.8 rating at FutureLearn based on 143 ratings

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