Interview with Bengt Winblad, Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the Karolinska Institutet, Head of Division of Neurogeriatrics and Director of the Swedish Brain Power research network.
What are the main challenges for health care practitioners (HCPs) when dealing with AD?
The ageing of the population in Europe is leading to an increase in the number of people who will be affected by dementia. The main challenge for General Practitioners (GPs), health care practitioners on primary level, is to identify these ageing people at high risk of developing dementia or presenting with symptoms of dementia. However, these professionals have rather limited time to assess the condition of the patient.
New assessment technologies, imaging and CSF tools are now becoming available in GP practices and enable GPs to detect early cases with AD.
Besides facing the ethical dilemma of making false positive diagnoses, the GPs have no disease modifiable treatment to propose in case of Alzheimer’s disease.
How will MOPEAD help HCPs in their daily practice?
One of MOPEAD’s goals is to raise awareness about AD and cognitive decline on all levels. Not only is it important to recognize symptoms, it is even more important to be aware of the instruments available to improve or delay symptomatic progression of AD. In addition to the symptomatic drugs approved for AD and the opportunities for clinical trial participation, which offer potential access to innovative therapies not yet available through the clinic, these instruments are to inform about are increased socialization, dietary modifications, exercise, and cognitive therapy. MOPEAD will deliver a step-change in AD patient engagement strategies for HCPs.
How will MOPEAD help to engage HCPs in the early detection of AD?
MOPEAD will help change the way HCPs are dealing with dementia. Traditionally HCPs have had to take the potentially fatal (albeit legitimate from their perspective) “wait and see approach” for confirming that the disease has progressed. With MOPEAD, we are shifting the focus to an active approach. We are bringing together new technologies, such as testing through web self-assessment. The crucial aspect of MOPEAD is that we are applying these different methods of patient engagement in diverse healthcare systems throughout Europe and we will be able to identify the best practical solutions for use in local communities.