To meet the challenge of Alzheimer´s disease and other dementias, a concerted effort and long-term economic commitment is needed. Lancet Neurology devotes its entire April issue to a detailed overview and recommendations about how patient care, as well as basic and clinical research on Alzheimer´s disease and other dementias should be organised in the future.

The report has been presented to the European Parliament Commissioners in Brussels.

The comprehensive report is the work of the Lancet Neurology Commission led by Professor Bengt Winblad, Center for Alzheimer Research at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. One of the Australian co-authors is La Trobe University’s Professor David Edvardsson.

The Commission was initiated by Lancet editors and formed with the aim to provide expert recommendations and information to politicians and policy makers about Alzheimer´s disease and related dementias.

Alzheimer´s, the most common form of dementia, accounts for approximately 60 percent of cases. The most important risk factor is high age and as life expectancy increases, the number of persons with dementia is expected to rise. In 2015, almost 47 million persons around the world were estimated to be affected. By 2030, the number is expected to reach 75 million. By 2050, up to 131 million persons are expected to be burdened by the disease. So far, no treatment is available that can effectively halt or reverse the disease.

In short of a cure, the report highlights the importance of proving high quality, person-centred nursing care and support to facilitate wellbeing and quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

La Trobe University’s Professor David Edvardsson has conducted extensive research on this model of care and support to facilitate wellbeing and quality of life in old age and dementia.

‘ This involves highly trained and skilled dementia care staff, targeted dementia care plans including physical, psychosocial and existential needs – and case management,’ Professor Edvardsson said.

‘The report also highlights that processes of planning, organising, funding, delivering and assessing formal care of people with dementia need to support the completion of basic care tasks as well as person-centred care to meet psychosocial and existential health needs of people with dementia.’

It discusses health economics, epidemiology, prevention, genetics, biology, diagnosis, treatment, care and ethics. It advocates that public governmental agencies form large multinational partnerships with academic centers and pharmaceutical companies to deploy capital resources and share risk.

The findings recommend the need of an interdisciplinary and interprofessional approach to research, care and support in Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Media; Catherine Garrett; 9479 6565 / 0418 964 325