The feasibility of crowdsourcing as a way of engaging and mobilising multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral stakeholders in the promotion of brain health (in collaboration with Edinburgh University and the University of Sao Paolo, Brazil. To be submitted to UKRI-FAPESP bilateral agreement

  • Chan, Kit Yee (Principal Investigator)
  • Parra Rodriguez, Mario (Co-investigator)
  • Yassuda, Mônica Sanches (Principal Investigator)

Project: Research

Project Details


Background: Dementia is a widely feared neurodegenerative disease that carries huge socio-economic, health systems and human costs. Rapid population aging has shifted an increasing majority of the global burden of dementia to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). In Brazil, for instance, the number of dementia cases is estimated to increase from 2,388,595 in 2020 to 2,887,039 in 2030. While a cure is not yet available, approximately one-third of dementia cases can be prevented by changes in a small set of modifiable risk factors (e.g. improving access to formal education, reducing physical inactivity and social isolation).
Prevention is most effective with the adoption of a life-course approach that tackles modifiable risk factors at both a systems and individual level. This undertaking requires long-term coordinated inter-sectoral efforts from governments and non-government sectors, professional organisations as well as the public. Unfortunately, dementia is not a policy priority in most LMICs. The disease is also heavily stigmatised in many LMICs where knowledge about its
prevention and cost saving potentials are low.
Social media remains an underutilised tool in promoting brain health that offers a real potential for reaching a large audience at low costs. Research has shown that individuals are more likely to adopt attitudinal and behavioural changes when they feel consulted and presented with choice and control. One of the great advantages of social media is that it is a democratised, peer-to-peer communication that provides the kind of perceived control that supports the attitudinal and behavioural change. The sense of control and relevance can be enhanced by
using crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing (i.e., outsourcing tasks or problems to a crowd) in the age of the internet, is a quick, inexpensive way for involving the public in research and advocacy. Examples of crowdsourcing in health research ranges from disease outbreak monitoring (e.g. the Crowdsourcing for the Zika project), to obesity (e.g. surveying reddit members for predictors of adult obesity) and HIV testing (e.g. competition for promotional videos to encourage HIV testing
in China). The potentials of crowdsourcing are still largely under-recognised in the promotion of brain health.
Aim and Objectives:
Using Brazil as a case study, the overall aim of this project is to assess the feasibility of crowdsourcing as a way of engaging and mobilising multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral stakeholders in the promotion of brain health. The project has the following objectives, to:
1. Build a multi-disciplinary online platform that engages stakeholders (the “crowd”) across the creative industry and community (e.g. advertising, animation, video, music, performance art), social and health sciences (e.g. psychology, marketing, public health, medicine) and the general public on the topic of healthy brain ageing;
2. Use the platform and social marketing strategies to pilot ways of engaging the crowd in the generation of health promotion ideas, strategies and materials (e.g. open competition);
3. Develop and pilot tools for assessing the characteristics and quality of the health promotion materials developed by the crowd beyond digital analytics;
4. Conduct a social media campaign for promoting brain health with the winning materials created by the crowd, and evaluate its success;
5. Develop an online resource pack to educate the public on brain health, encourage members of the community to become advocates of healthy cognitive ageing, and link interested people to related services (e.g. diagnostic and support services for dementia, counselling).
StatusNot started