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MRC Festival of Medical Research 2018

Staff from the MRC LHA took part in the MRC Festival Science Fair at UCL.

The MRC Festival of Medical Research is an annual event, where MRC-funded units, centres and institutes can showcase and discuss their work through events and activities around the UK

This year the LHA got together with colleagues from the MRC Laboratory for Medical Cell Biology and the MRC Prion Unit to put on a family fun day.

The LHA stall was designed for attendees to the festival to find out what it is like to be a study member.

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The first aspect we discussed was the annual birthday card. These have been sent out since 1962. The birthday cards are a thank you to the study members, as well as providing an opportunity for the study team to keep contact details up-to-date. For the 2018 birthday card we took part in a collaborative project for the card design and they were all on show.

More information on this project (external link)  

The second aspect we discussed was the “life course”. Adapted the ‘Tangle’ activity, which was first put on at the Green Man Festival 2017 and funded by the Wellcome Trust, artists helped to transform the study into an activity designed to represent how scientists gather up the threads of many people’s lives and weave them together to answer research questions.

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People attending the MRC Festival were asked to contribute their data on four variables the scientists examine; memory, balance, diet, and health behaviours. Instead of filling out questionnaires, the participants got a piece of coloured fabric for each of their answers, which they wound onto a rope to create their “life course”. Anything else that they thought was important in their lives they wrote onto a present tag.

The final aspect of the stall was a hypothesis test. This was used to show how, once we have collected the “life course” data, we can use it to answer questions.

The day was great fun and we found out the following:

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