ADDP launches a new online brochure

A graphic brochure presenting the aims, wider ambitions and latest work of the EU-funded Alzheimer’s disease (AD) Detect and Prevent project is now available. It can be accessed here

In addition to the latest project-related updates as well as a presentation of all involved partners, the brochure elaborates on the main issues, particularly concerning the early detection of AD as well as the lifestyle-related risk of AD dementia, that the project aims to tackle.  

Keep on following us for further news! 

Webinar: Enhancing the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease through digital technologies – 23rd June 2020, 13:30 – 15:30 CEST (2 hours)

Alzheimer's disease (AD), which is the underlying cause in 70% of dementia cases, has a severe impact on individuals as well as their relatives and society at large. Yet, despite the high prevalence of AD dementia across Europe, it is often challenging to detect AD before clear symptoms emerge. When this condition is diagnosed, it has in many cases already caused significant nerve damage leading to impaired memory, thought processes, behaviour and social skills.       

The emergence and development of digital health technologies creates new opportunities for enhancing the early detection of AD as well as addressing the lifestyle-related risk associated with AD dementia. In the light of this, the AD Detect and Prevent consortium will organize the webinar “Enhancing the early detection of Alzheimer's disease through digital technologies” that aims to address key questions such as: How does AD affect individuals as well as the people around them? What are the main challenges in detecting AD before the onset of clear symptoms? How can lifestyle-related factors affect a person’s risk of developing AD dementia? What potential role could digital technologies play in enhancing the early detection of AD? 


Please find the programme below:

Introduction
Kim Baden-Kristensen - CEO & Co-founder, Brain+

Testimony
Dr. Helen Rochford-Brennan - Chair, European Working Group of People with Dementia

Applying digital technologies in detecting cognitive decline
Prof. Masud Husain - Professor of Neurology & Cognitive Neuroscience, Oxford University

Pitfalls and challenges in early detection
Prof. Martin Rossor - NIHR National Director for Dementia Research and Principal Research Associate, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology

Cognitive and neuroimaging challenges associated with preclinical Alzheimer’s disease
Prof. Eric Salmon - Medical Director, GIGA Cyclotron Research Centre, University of Liege

Introduction to AD Detect and Prevent
Prof. Masud Husain - Professor of Neurology & Cognitive Neuroscience, Oxford University & Ulrik Ditlev Eriksen - Co-Founder, COO & CSO, Brain+

Open discussion
Moderated by Kim Baden-Kristensen - CEO & Co-founder, Brain+


The webinar will be held on Tuesday 23rd June 2020 from 13:30 - 15:30 CEST (2 hours).

Register for the webinar here.

Interview with Prof. Martin Rossor, NIHR National Director for Dementia Research and Principal Research Associate at the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology

Alzheimer's disease, a neurodegenerative condition that slowly and progressively destroys brain cells, has a severe impact on individuals as well as the people around them. Moreover, it is often challenging to detect this condition before the emergence of clear symptoms. In the light of this, Prof. Martin Rossor, NIHR National Director for Dementia Research and Principal Research Associate at the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, shares his views on some of the challenges in detecting Alzheimer’s as well as the opportunities provided by digital health technologies. 

What is Alzheimer's disease (AD) and how is it linked to developing AD dementia? 

AD describes a clinical clinicopathological disorder that is characterised by progressive impairment in cognition, particularly affecting memory. The brains of those with AD show the hallmarks of the disease described by Alzheimer, which are the senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Dementia is a general term used to describe cognitive impairment that is sufficiently severe to interfere with everyday activities. AD dementia is thus dementia due to Alzheimer's disease and will occur as the disease progresses. However, the disease does have a long period of development, probably extending up to 10 years before symptoms become clear. 

How is AD dementia affecting people in the UK and in Europe? And particularly, what are the implications of AD dementia for countries with ageing populations?

Since we currently have no cure for AD it is progressive and will in the vast majority of cases lead to dementia or severe impairment. This not only affects individuals with the disease but also spouses and family. Moreover, AD as well as AD dementia are also common as we get older. Estimated numbers for dementia, all forms and causes included, are at least 1 million in the UK and more than 9.5 million in Europe. This also has major economic impact. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the annual costs of dementia are approximately €275 billion (US$ 300 billion) for the WHO European Region.

Could you elaborate on the current challenges in detecting AD before the emergence of clear symptoms?

There are a number of challenges in detecting AD before clear symptoms emerge. A major issue is what we mean by AD in this context. Currently, AD is a clinicopathological concept, i.e., a combination of clear symptoms and underlying plaques and tangles. The identification of tau and amyloid deposition in the brain is now feasible with PET imaging and for amyloid also identifiable in CSF by lumbar puncture. However, we are still not able to predict reliably the prognosis following detection of tau and amyloid. This is particularly true in the elderly. Moreover, in the absence of a treatment early detection outside a research context may be of limited value or, in some instances, harmful.

Could you elaborate on the link between lifestyle factors and the risk of developing AD dementia? 

The two major risks for AD are genetic and advanced age. In very rare instances, AD can be inherited as an autosomal dominant disorder due to mutations in the presenilin and APP genes. The APOE4 genotype also confers an increased risk but is neither sufficient nor necessary to cause AD. Age is the other major factor, but AD is less clearly defined in the elderly and usually coexists with vascular disease and other neurodegenerative processes. A number of lifestyle factors have been identified that lead to an increased risk of dementia, rather than specifically to AD. These include smoking, hypertension, diabetes and obesity. The general rule is that what is good for the heart is also good for the head. Improvement in managing high blood pressure may be linked to the reported reduction in some countries of the incidence of dementia, although the prevalence is expected to increase with increased longevity. Many lifestyle factors are modifiable, but it is not yet known to what extent they may modify Alzheimer's Disease. There is an excellent review by Livingstone and colleagues (https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)31363-6/fulltext).

What are, in your opinion, the main challenges and opportunities associated with using digital health technologies to enhance the early detection of AD?

There are many opportunities from understanding early symptoms, through to providing care and support. Testing individual domains of cognition using tests of graded difficulty is the standard approach to assessment of cognitive impairment. This is most powerful when serial assessments can detect change within an individual. With the ubiquity of data from phone usage through to shopping patterns, there is an opportunity to detect change in how an individual interacts with a complex environment. This has opportunities for research but also for support when in the early stages of vulnerability. For example, in managing financial matters whereby subtle changes in decisions can alert family members. With more advanced disease, digital health technology via the internet of things gives the opportunity for individuals to maintain independence. The major challenge is to ensure security, autonomy and privacy in the handling of individuals data.

AD Detect and Prevent at the Alzheimer’s Association Academy – 10-11 December 2019

The Alzheimer's disease (AD) Detect and Prevent project was presented at the Alzheimer’s Association Academy that was held on 10 - 11 December 2019 in Brussels, Belgium.

On this occasion, Kim Baden-Kristensen (Brain+) and Younes Tabi (Oxford University) presented the objectives of the project as well as the issues that the AD Detect and Prevent tool aims to address. Furthermore, the audience was introduced to the ‘Sea Hero Quest’ as well as the gamified AD test that is currently under development.

The event brought together a wide range of academics, patient representatives and healthcare stakeholders to address key questions in the AD and dementia space. Specific topics included the role of new technologies in diagnosing AD, models of patient engagement in dementia, ethical issues in dementia research and patient involvement in medicines development.

“I was positive about the interest and enthusiasm shown by the various national patient advocacy groups represented at the academy when we presented and demonstrated the ADDP project. There were also many good curious and important questions being raised that we in the consortium can take home and digest, and use as valuable input. Most important for me was the fact that what we are working on resonated with the patient advocates, and there was a confirmation that there is a need for this type of innovative product.” says Kim Baden-Kristensen, CEO and co-founder of Brain+.

The presentation introducing AD Detect and Prevent can be accessed here.

Kim from Brain+ discussing ‘Brain health and prevention’ during IMI Stakeholder Forum 2019

The IMI Stakeholder Forum 2019 took place on Wednesday 12 June in Brussels, Belgium. The theme was "Brain health and disease in the digital era - 2020 & beyond".

IMI stands for Innovative Medicines Initiative and is the world’s biggest public-private partnership in the life sciences. It is a partnership between the European Union and the European pharmaceutical industry. IMI facilitates open collaboration in research to advance the development of, and accelerate patient access to, personalised medicines for the health and wellbeing of all, especially in areas of unmet medical need.

We’re pleased that Kim Baden-Kristensen, CEO of Brain+ and coordinator of the AD Detect Prevent consortium, was asked to be part of the discussion panel that day on Brain health and prevention.

Brain + is a digital therapeutics company that helps people, who are suffering from neurological disorders, -disease and brain injuries to restore their fundamental cognitive brain functions to full health and functionality via a therapeutics platform.
In the video below Kim explains more about the mission of Brain+ and how they want to achieve that mission.

 

 

The discussion panel on ‘Brain health and prevention’ was about the shift of healthcare from reactive treatment and care to early detection and prevention, and the increasingly active role patients play in managing their health. In this session different stakeholders discussed how they are engaging with digital health technologies, and how they are demonstrating reliability and performance of these technologies while assuring compliance with legal, regulatory and ethical requirements.

Here you can find a list of the different stakeholders that were part of this panel (p. 1).

In the video below we included 3 questions that were asked by the moderator and answered by Kim, which were:

 

 

1) How do we stop people diagnosing themselves with Dr. Google results?
2) Who’s going to pay for digital solutions?
3) What do you think IMI (as a public-private partnership) should be doing?

If you’d like to see the full discussion on this ‘Brain health and prevention’ session click here.

AD Detect and Prevent at Brain Conference “Understanding and targeting Alzheimer’s disease”

The AD Detect and Prevent consortium was present at the Brain Conference “Understanding and targeting Alzheimer's disease” that was held on 5-8 May 2019 in Rungstedgaard, Denmark. This conference, organized by the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), brought together leading brain researchers and scientists in order to, amongst other issues, exchange views on challenges connected to Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) as well as how to address knowledge gaps in the field of AD research. Various presentations on the latest clinical trials and the requirement of biomarkers for early risk assessment were held during the meeting.

On this occasion, Ulrik Ditlev Eriksen, co-founder of Brain+, delivered a presentation on how the EU-funded AD Detect and Prevent project aims to enhance the early detection of AD and address risk factors connected to Alzheimer’s Dementia. AD Detect and Prevent also took part in the Poster Session that was held on 6 May.

Further information on the event can be accessed here.