Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Second year medical student's first experiences of research...

For the last 6 weeks I joined the RAT group on a research attachment. My task was to look in to past dementia research, find a ‘gap’, then come up with an idea and finally write a grant proposal. This seemed like a huge challenge at first, as I worried I would drown in the amount of dementia research that had already been done and having only studied medicine for a year previously I had not written a grant proposal. However, building on personal experience of caring for someone with dementia, being guided by passion for exercise and an interest in exercise therapy as a prevention method and treatment, I quickly began to focus in on this branch of research.
Screen shot of what the app's home screen could look like
I found there had been a large amount of recent research on exercise therapy for dementia patients. The majority focused on how and why exercise is beneficial and showed evidence for its benefits. Although a few studies looked at those barriers to physical activity that patients with dementia face, I found none that looked into interventions that could be easily accessible to the wider community. Using this I came up with the idea of developing an exercise therapy app for dementia patients and their carers, calling it ‘My Exercise Therapy’.

I thoroughly enjoyed the research attachment and it has made me keen to be involved in research in the future. My only regret was that I didn’t get to develop the app itself – but perhaps it is a possibility for the future!

Written by Holly Davis

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