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More London taxi drivers needed for groundbreaking MRI study to help fight Alzheimer’s

Updated: Aug 7, 2021


Image credit: Taxi Brains / TAXI Newspaper

Researchers at University College London (UCL) have started a new phase of their ‘Taxi Brains’ project harnessing the power of London cabbies’ Knowledge-honed brains to develop a better understanding of Alzheimer’s.


The team at Spiers Lab, part of UCL, is studying the hippocampus – an area

of the brain responsible for memory and spatial processing, that has previously been found to be enlarged in the brains of taxi drivers who have completed the Knowledge.

The hippocampus is one of the first areas of the brain to be impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease. Studying taxi drivers’ brains therefore gives researchers a unique insight into this area of the brain and into dementia as a whole.


This new phase of the project, an MRI study, funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK and Ordnance Survey is now up and running and researchers are looking for London taxi drivers to undergo an MRI scan or take part in an online exercise.


Drivers who participate will be paid for their time and by taking part will be helping to build researchers’ understanding of how this devastating disease impacts the brain, which could benefit those diagnosed with the condition over the longer term.

Appointments are available until early August. If you are interested in participating, please contact lead researchers Sarah Goodroe and Chris Gahnstrom by email SpiersLab@ucl.ac.uk. You will need to complete a short screening process over the phone, but this should take no more than five minutes.

If you are approved, you will need to complete a short training session from your home computer and commit to a two-hour scan appointment. All appointments take place at 26 Bedford Way, WC1H 0AP. Drivers will be compensated £30 for their time and could also receive an extra £15 for playing a game on their mobile device after the scan.

Implanted metallic devices or new metallic fillings may exclude you from taking part in the MRI version of this study. Please contact the team if you have any questions regarding your eligibility.


An online version of the study will also be available in the next few weeks for those who are not eligible for or able to attend an MRI scan. Drivers interested in this option should contact the team to be added to the mailing list and be notified when the online option is open. For the online version, your participation will be compensated at £10. Please note that you will not be able to take part in both the MRI and online versions of this study.


Taxi drivers are urged to get in touch today and you could use your unique ‘taxi brain’ to help fight this cruel disease.


(Article from TAXI Newspaper. Edition available to read here)

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