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NEIL Memory Research Unit

Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing to participate in a research study is an important personal decision. The following frequently asked questions provide detailed information about what participation in our study would entail, to help you make your decision.

If you have further questions, or would like more information about the NEIL Memory Research Unit, please contact us and a member of our team will be happy to help you.


Why should I participate in research?

Not only is participating in our research a great way to give back to the community and help to advance science, it can also be a good way to answer some questions you may have in relation to memory and lifestyle. Participants in our research will receive a personalised feedback report providing information that can help you to 'stay sharp' as you get older.

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Who is eligible to participate?

People aged 50+ who are in good health, and are able to attend the Memory Research Unit, are good candidates for our research.

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If I sign up to participate, how many times will I have to come to Trinity College?

You will be asked to attend the Memory Research Unit once for an initial comprehensive assessment session, which will take either a full morning or afternoon. If you decide not to participate in follow up assessment, this will be the only time you have to attend the Memory Research Unit. If you agree to participate in follow up assessments, you may be asked to attend the Memory Research Unit on a 1-2 yearly basis for a shorter assessment session. We will ensure to arrange your assessment session for a time that suits you best.

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What happens if I sign up for research at the Memory Research Unit?

Once you have indicated that you are interested in participating in research at the Memory Research Unit, and provided your contact details, you will be contacted by a member of our team and provided with further information about the study. Our staff will explain what participating in our research would entail, and answer any questions. They will also explain your rights as a research volunteer, including your right to leave the study at any time. You are entitled to have this information repeated at any time during the research process, and explained until you feel that you fully understand the nature of the study.

Once all questions have been answered, and if you are still interested in taking part in the study, you will be sent an information pack containing detailed written information about our research, and two consent forms to be signed and returned to us.

Once we have received signed informed consent, you will be contacted by phone to answer some questions about your health and any medications you are taking. You will have been asked to indicate times that suit you to be contacted by phone on your consent form, so as to ensure that we contact you at a time that is convenient. Following this, you may be asked to attend an assessment session at the Memory Research Unit, and sent some questionnaires by post to complete before you attend this session.

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What happens during a session at the Memory Research Unit?

Upon arrival at the Memory Research Unit, you will be met by a member of our research team, who will briefly explain the study again and answer any questions that you have.

You will then be requested to complete some measures of memory, attention and related processes. These will include paper and pen tasks, tasks to which you respond verbally, and a number of computer based tasks. You do not need to be familiar with a computer to complete our computer based tasks, which involve pressing only one or two buttons.

The researcher will then ask you some questions about your mood, feelings and lifestyle. Following this we will take some basic physical measures - height and weight, a measure of grip strength (for which you have to squeeze a handle), and the time it takes to walk a short distance.

We will then take a measure of the electrical activity in your brain while you site with your eyes closed and your eyes open, using electroencephalography (EEG). We will also ask you to provide a sample of your saliva, to be stored anonymously for use in future medical research.

Regular breaks will be provided during the session. You are also free to decline to take part in any particular measure or task, if you would prefer not to.

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Will I get paid to participate in research?

Participation in our research is on a voluntary basis, and participants do not receive any payment. You will however be provided with a personalised feedback report containing information that may help you to 'stay sharp' as you get older, which has been developed by experts at NEIL.

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Do you give out the study results?

Yes and No. We do provide a personalised feedback report with information that can help you to 'stay sharp' as you get older, tailored to you based on your responses to some of our lifestyle measures. However, we do not provide the results of our measures of memory and attention, since these measures are purely for research purposes and are non diagnostic.

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What happens to my data?

Data collected about an individual participant in studies like ours is typically combined with data from many other people, to form groups with similar characteristics. This group data is then analysed so that conclusions or discoveries can be made, and shared with the community.

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Will my data and personal information be kept confidential?

Ensuring the confidentiality of our participants' data is a central priority of the Memory Research Unit. All information obtained from you during the course of the study will be kept strictly confidential and kept in a locked storage area to prevent access by unauthorised personnel. All of your data will be stored under a unique ID code, and will not be linked to any identifying information such as your name and contact details.

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How is the safety of research participants protected?

The ethical and legal codes governing our research are designed to ensure the safety of research participants. All of our study procedures have been reviewed and granted approval by the Trinity College School of Psychology Ethics Committee. Our research uses a carefully designed protocol - a study plan which details exactly what researchers will do during the study.

As our research progresses, our research team may report the results of the study in scientific journals, or at scientific meetings or conferences. Individual participants' names or other identifying information is not linked to their data, which is stored under a unique ID code, and will never be mentioned in these reports.

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Can I leave the study once it has begun?

Yes. Participants are free to leave our study at any time. If you wish to withdraw from our research, you can simply inform a member of the research team and we will ensure that you are no longer contacted in relation to participation in the study. You are also free to withdraw your data from the study at any time.

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Last updated 26 July 2018

Enhance / Enable / Educate / Empower