【DE】Therapy options for dementia

Experts discuss current research results at the NEURO symposium


According to the German Alzheimer Society e.V., according to recent epidemiological estimates, around 1.6 million people live with dementia in Germany. Most of them are affected by Alzheimer’s disease. On average, about 900 new cases occur daily[1]. The hope of a disease-modifying drug is therefore great among those affected, relatives and the treating medical profession – but the prospects are subdued, says Prof. Dr. Richard Dodel from the University of Duisburg-Essen: “Many pharmaceutical companies have withdrawn from neurodegenerative research, because the costs of Alzheimer’s studies are gigantic and the chances of success at the same time very low.” Dodel is considered a proven expert in the field of neurodegeneration and especially Alzheimer’s dementia. As part of the NEURO symposium on Saturday, 24. September, at the Congress Centrum Bremen, he reports on current therapy and prevention options.


Sensitize those affected to prevention options


Dodel also refers to the controversial active ingredient aducanumab, which made headlines at the end of last year. Unlike the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA) had rejected the application for approval of the active substance for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease in the EU. The risks of the active substance are greater than the benefits, according to the authority’s statement.


Instead, Dodel tries to encourage his colleagues to attach more importance to the influenceable risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and to sensitize those affected to their own options for action: “Those who pay attention to a healthy lifestyle and avoid health risk factors have been proven to reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer’s.” In addition, lack of social contacts or lack of education were also among the risk factors that can be influenced. “If dementia is detected in the early stages, the disease can be delayed and thus lifetime and quality can be gained,” says Dodel. The university professor also involves the relatives in the treatment, because an 80-year-old is often difficult to convince him to change his lifestyle habits.


Luxembourg model experiment as a model project


Reducing the risk of dementia in Luxembourg is the goal of the Dementia Prevention (pdp) program of the Luxembourg Ministry of Health and the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine[2]. According to Dodel, a role model project with regard to dementia prevention: “Since there are no cure for dementia so far, prevention is currently our best starting point.” As part of the model experiment, the individual, modifiable risk factors would be recognized and the risk of dementia disease would be reduced through targeted prevention measures. The participants suffered from a reduction in performance of the brain – the so-called Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) – which could subsequently lead to dementia. Together with neuropsychologists, a personalized treatment concept is created and vouchers for physical and psychological forms of therapy are issued. The successes are checked at regular intervals and the measures are adjusted accordingly,” explains Dodel. By taking into account additional factors, such as the social environment or nutrition, the researchers want to identify further dementia risk factors and thus continuously improve the quality of treatments.


Prof. Dr. Richard Dodel is one of ten experts from all over Germany who present and discuss current research results and treatment options for neurological diseases dementia, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis as part of NEURO. The NEURO symposium will take place on Saturday, 24. September, at the Congress Centrum Bremen. Participation in the event allows the acquisition of six training points.


Registration and further information at: www.neuro-bremen.de



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