January 27


12:30 pm - 06:00 pm

Event Tags:





B114 Brockington Building

Loughborough University

Loughborough, LE11 3TU

The event was run by the Applied Cognition, Technology & Interaction Group (ACTInG) at Loughborough University with our partner Mencap and other 3rd sector organisations, bringing together researchers from across the Midlands (and beyond) for a series of themed research sandpits between focused on the inclusion, well-being, and autonomy of people living with cognitive impairments and learning disabilities.

The event was run in a hybrid format.

This event was the second in a series of three themed events which included keynotes, panels, short talks, poster presentations, and research sandpit discussions. The theme for January was: “The Senses”. The goal of the sandpit was to produce new interdisciplinary collaborations and project proposals that will lead to the production of one or more large project bids within the framework—and with the support of—the Midlands Innovation Inclusive Transformation programme ( Please see below for the programme for the day and to sign up for a free ticket.


You can sign up for this FREE event here.

We look forward to seeing you virtually or in-person soon!



Introduction to the day – 12:30-13:10

  • Introduction to the day and summary of previous meetings


Section 1 talks: Touch, pain, gait and proprioception in dementia

Ahmet Begde: Understanding the impact of changes in sensory input and sensory integration on walking and fall risk in dementia (13:15-13:30)

  • Abstract – Dementia is one of the leading causes of mortality, morbidity and loss of functionality because of affected cognitive, physical and sensorimotor functions (Laver et al., 2016; Todd et al., 2013). Older adults with cognitive impairment are more likely to fall than their peers without cognitive impairment (Fernando et al., 2018). Fall risk is almost doubled in dementia because of impaired vision, gait and balance, which often leads to long-term hospitalisation, delirium and mortality and worsens dementia outcomes (Härlein et al., 2009; Kearney et al., 2013). There are some well-established risk factors for cognitively impaired people, such as fall history, environmental hazards, motor and visual impairments (Fernando et al., 2018). However, since dementia-related gait disorders are due to disturbances of the highest sensorimotor systems (Martin and O’Neill, 2004), understanding the change in sensory input and sensory integration in dementia is very important in reducing the risk of falls, which can reduce high healthcare costs.

Augusta Philippou: Can the use of repetitive textiles processes improve well-being and become an alternative model of treatment; aiming to prevent cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s Disease (13:30-13:45)

  • AbstractGussi started her PhD four months ago and will give an overview of the collaborative research she has explored; working with supervisors from both the School of Design and Creative Arts (SDCA) and School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS) at Loughborough University.  As the number of people living with dementia increases, her PhD aims to design an effective textiles intervention to prevent cognitive decline and social isolation in people living with Dementia.  Early research explores how art-based workshops currently in place for people living with dementia, haven’t been evaluated for their effectiveness as an intervention.

Christian Morgner: Pain and dementia (13:45-14:00) (Pre-recorded talk)

  • Abstract – This presentation describes the method to develop a new understanding about pain in people with dementia. Existing procedures for assessment of pain rely on subjective self-report using pain questionnaires and rating scales that have proven to be highly problematic. Consequently, pain in people with dementia can be undetected and/or undertreated. To address that, we have developed an alternative experimental approach that builds on theoretical and methodological precedents from the arts, humanities and social sciences. Based on this approach, a number of participatory workshops were conducted to explore pain and its expression in people with dementia. This had led to a new definition of pain as an interruption of the socially mediated process of bodily meaning-making. These results emphasise that the future of pain research needs to consider the relational aspects of pain more seriously.

Sandpits (14:00-14:30)

  • Q: can we use touch (e.g. from textiles) to improve mood and cognition?
  • Q: how can we reduce falls risk in dementia given sensorimotor issues?
  • Q: how can we widen our understanding of pain?
    • Then feedback to everyone on our ideas (14:30-14:45)


Tea Break (14:45-15:00)


Section 2 talks: Vision and hearing loss

Thom Wilkinson: Abnormalities of saccadic eye movements in dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment (15:00-15:15)

  • Abstract – Background: There is increasing evidence that people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have subtle impairments in cognitive inhibition that can be detected by using relatively simple eye-tracking paradigms, but these subtle impairments are often missed by traditional cognitive assessments. People with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are at an increased likelihood of dementia due to AD. No previous study had investigated and contrasted the MCI subtypes in relation to eye movement performance. Methods: In this work we explored whether eye-tracking impairments could distinguish between patients with the amnesic and the non-amnesic variants of MCI. Participants were 68 people with dementia due to AD, 42 had a diagnosis of aMCI, and 47 had a diagnosis of naMCI, and 92 age-matched cognitively healthy controls. Results: The findings revealed that eye-tracking can distinguish between the two forms of MCI. Conclusions: The work provides further support for eye-tracking as a useful diagnostic biomarker in the assessment of dementia.

Eef Hogervorst: Visual sensitivity and facial scanning is associated with dementia (15:15-15:30)

  • Abstract – Visual impairments are common in dementia and impact on activities of daily life. We earlier discussed loss of contrast sensitivity and how to design spaces to improve orientation and independence. We present data on visual sensitivity and recognition speed of emerging stimuli in the visual field which were shown to be impaired in people with mild cognitive impairment which is often a precursor to dementia. We also show research in scanning of faces using eye tracking which was shown to be affected in dementia and which will impact on recognition of faces.

A. Gisela Reyes Cruz: Reframing disability as competency: unpacking everyday technology practices by people with visual impairments (15:30-15:45)

  • Abstract – Visual impairments are prevalent in the world, with more than a billion people experiencing them. Thus, a variety of technologies have been created and adopted by them, to different extents, in the course of ‘getting on’. In this presentation, I will give an overview of an ethnographic study that is part of my PhD work. Drawing on ethnomethodology and its interest in interactional competence, I have unpacked everyday technology practices of people with visual impairments. As a result, I have outlined a competencies framework that aims to represent the various ways in which people perform activities when they have little or no vision, including sensory diversity, adaptation mechanisms and social support. This work underpins a set of design cards I have presented at a previous ACTInG event.

Dalia Tsimpida: Socioeconomic inequalities and hearing health in England (15:45-16:00)

  • Abstract – Dr Dalia Tsimpidais a postdoctoral researcher at The University of Manchester. She has an extensive background in hearing health in later life, health psychology, social epidemiology, health policy & health services planning, and multi-year experience in delivering innovative research on lifestyle factors in hearing loss. She received the International Society of Audiology Scholarship 2020 for her pioneering research findings on the prevention and early detection of hearing loss in primary care, and the Scientific Award 2021 in Computational Audiology. The negative impact of hearing loss is broader than sensory impairment, as it affects the mental wellbeing, the interpersonal interactions, and the participation of the individuals in society. In this talk she will be presenting the vicious cycle between socioeconomic inequalities and hearing health from birth to older adulthood, as depicted in the Model of Hearing Health Inequalities(HHI Model), and using existing evidence from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA).

Maria Goodwin: Different models in predicting how hearing loss can affect dementia symptoms, qualitative study on barriers (16:00-16:15)

  • Abstract – Background: Hearing loss is a risk factor for dementia but its relationship is under investigating. In this talk 3 models will be presented which discuss this relationship and the data from our studies that provide further insight. Our analyses showed that dementia screening tasks that reply on hearing (e.g. remembering auditorily presented word lists) were performed better when combined with visual stimuli. We also found that people who present with hearing loss are more likely to engage in less physical activity. Barriers to uptake of exercise for people with hearing loss from qualitative analyses are discussed.

Sandpits (16:15-16:40)

  • Q: which visual tests could be used in clinics for diagnostics and assessment
  • Q: how can we overcome visual or hearing issues during testing and ADL?
  • Q: could hearing aids prevent cognitive loss because they promote psychosocial activity engagement?
    • Then feedback to everyone on our ideas (16:40-17:00)


Tea and networking (17:00-18:00)