Effectiveness of dementia risk reduction messaging in NHS health checks.

NHS health check 40-64 dementia pilot research findings | Alzheimer’s Society


The NHS Health Check programme is a statutory public health intervention commissioned by all local authorities in England. It aims to improve the health and wellbeing of adults aged 40-74 years through the promotion of earlier awareness, assessment, and management of the major risks factors and conditions driving premature death, disability and health inequalities in England.

The overall aim of the research was to evaluate the pilot and assess the feasibility of extending the NHS Health Check for 40-64 year olds to include a dementia risk reduction component. Specific objectives of the research included first, to understand the impact of the NHS Health Check on an individual’s knowledge and awareness of dementia risk reduction and the impact of the intervention on individuals’ intention to change behaviour.

The second objective was to identify (where sample sizes allowed) whether any differences in the delivery of the intervention between pilot sites had any effect on individual’s awareness and understanding of dementia risk reduction.

The third objective was to understand professional awareness and confidence in promoting dementia risk reduction messages and to identify further training requirements, resources and support.

The final objective was to assess any implications for services and commissioners and provide PHE with advice on any further longer-term evaluation that will be required.

Full report here

Dementia in older age: barriers to primary prevention and factors

Evidence review showing that changing some behaviours in midlife can reduce the chances of getting dementia in older age | PHE


These documents help commissioners and researchers make decisions about prioritisation of primary prevention measures relevant to dementia.

This review, by the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at the London School of Economics and Political Science (2016), shows that there is evidence that the risk of dementia is increased by:

  • physical inactivity
  • current smoking
  • diabetes
  • hypertension in mid-life
  • obesity in mid-life and depression

It also shows that mental activity can reduce the risk of dementia.

To promote primary prevention of dementia, it is important to understand both the barriers to primary prevention and factors which facilitate primary prevention.

Read the full overview here

Interventions to prevent cognitive decline & dementia

Evidence supporting three interventions that might slow cognitive decline and the onset of dementia is encouraging but insufficient to justify a public health campaign focused on their adoption | ScienceDaily


Image source: NASEM

Cognitive training, blood pressure management for people with hypertension, and increased physical activity all show modest but inconclusive evidence that they can help prevent cognitive decline and dementia, but there is insufficient evidence to support a public health campaign encouraging their adoption, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.  Additional research is needed to further understand and gain confidence in their effectiveness, said the committee that conducted the study and wrote the report.

Why is Hearing Loss a Public Health Concern?

Tremblay, K. L. (2017) Hearing Journal. 70(4) pp. 14,16

‘Answer: Because hearing loss is highly prevalent, with numerous associated health risks that burden affected individuals, their family, and their community.’


When hearing loss is viewed from a public health perspective, the mission expands to include improving health and quality of life, not only through prevention and treatment of hearing loss but also through the promotion of healthy behaviors. An essential component of public health is the “collective action for sustained population-wide health improvement” (Lancet. 2004;363[9426]:2084 http://bit.ly/2lALIIj; Bull World Health Organ. 2014;92[5]:367 http://bit.ly/2lAFqIq). As such, there are many ongoing initiatives aimed at making hearing health care more accessible and affordable within and outside of the medical model (Ear Hear. 2016;37[4]:376 http://bit.ly/2lAL6SW; Ear Hear. 2010;31[1]:2 http://bit.ly/2lAIMew).

Read the full article here

Insufficient evidence to support depression prevention programmes

Cristea, I. The Mental Elf Blog. Published online: 21 February 2017


Research on prevention differentiates between universal interventions, which are implemented for a designated population regardless of the risk (e.g., all school-age children) and targeted interventions, which are aimed at a population at high risk for a disorder. Recent large trials in adults covered on the Mental Elf showed prevention of depression is particularly effective when it is targeted.

In a recent Cochrane systematic review, Hetrick and colleagues examined whether three evidence-based psychological interventions (cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT) and ‘third wave’ CBT) are effective in preventing the onset of depressive disorder in children and adolescents.

Read the full overview here

Read the original research article here

Making Every Contact Count

11598-2Health Education England’s Making Every Contact Count website has been recently updated to provide all those with an interest or role in population health and prevention with a library of national and local resources that can be used to support the development, implementation and evaluation of MECC programmes across local communities.

The resources available include sample frameworks, case studies, signposting to useful e-learning sessions and healthy lifestyle resources, amongst others.

Associated factsheet: What is Making Every Contact Count?

Local health and care planning: menu of preventative interventions

This document outlines public health interventions that can improve the health of the population and reduce health and care service demand. | Public Health England


Image source: http://www.gov.uk/

Public Health England (PHE) has worked with partners to identify preventative actions that can improve people’s health, support quality improvement and potentially save the NHS and the wider system money.

This menu details interventions that are estimated to give a return on investment (ROI) and can demonstrate cost-savings to the health and care system over a 5 year period.

This document aims to support local planning processes and can be used to inform local commissioning strategies and plans. It follows publication of the NHS shared planning guidance and the Commissioning for Quality and Innovation scheme for 2017 to 2019.

This is a refresh to an earlier version and has been updated with new modelling information and links to new ROI tools.