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New guidelines to prevent dementia

Create second-generation memory clinics, more personalized care and prevent cognitive decline before the first signs appear. These are the main proposals for tackling dementia from an international working group.

New guidelines to prevent dementia


Scientists from more than twenty institutions have proposed a series of guidelines to prevent dementia, an initiative led by the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG)in which he participates Barcelonaβeta Brain Research Center (BBRC)research center of the Pasqual Maragall Foundation.

The current reality of Alzheimer’s

with 10 million people affected in Europe, Alzheimer’s is the most common neurodegenerative disease and leads to a drastic loss of autonomy for affected people and a large impact on healthcare costs. For this reason, its prevention has become one real social challenge.

Image provided by the Pasqual Maragall Foundation

The doctor Orio Grauresponsible for Clinical Research Group and Risk Factors for Neurodegenerative Diseases of the BBRC and one of the authors of the work states that large-scale prevention protocols on lifestyle improvements, such as physical activity, attention to nutrition, or cardiovascular prevention, have reduced the risk of developing the disease ‘Alzheimer’s or related forms.

However, the prevalence of dementia continues to increase with the aging of the population and it is estimated that the number of people with Alzheimer’s in Europe will double by 2050, says the expert.

The “Brain Health Services”

In this context, the project collaborators have developed a new preventive protocol that aims to offer innovative brain health services.

In the collected guidelines, the research group has identified four pillars of this new approach:

  • Risk assessment
  • Risk communication
  • prevention personalized
  • improve cognitive

“Alzheimer’s disease begins to develop long before the onset of symptoms; therefore, strategies aimed at prevention are crucial”, points out Grau.

The four pillars mentioned above will allow the Brain Health Services, second-generation memory clinics, to reach the segment of the population whose memory it still works fine and what they want preserve it or improve it.

An innovative proposal to prevent dementia

The ultimate goal of the protocol is to be able to provide individualized support and information to people with complaints of subjective memorybut without objective alterations in tests that evaluate cognitive performance, similar to the current one protocol of management of risk of cardiovascular diseases.

How it works?

In this sense, the procedure established by the research group Barcelonaβeta Brain Research Center takes into account risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease or related disorders:

  • With the geneticssuch as the APOE4 gene.
  • With the lifestyle how alcohol consumption, social isolation, obesity.
  • With the conditions of the same individual, such as hypertension, diabetes, hearing loss, depression or head trauma.

Based on this information, a risk index which is accurately and comprehensibly communicated to the patient following a series of recommendations based on personality and background.

Finally, they are studied pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to reduce these risks and provide memory reinforcement or stimulation methods based on exercises, games and/or transcranial electrical or magnetic stimulation.

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