Tag Archives: Global Dementia

The AgedBrainSYSBIO consortium, a four-year project on brain ageing funded by the European Commission under the Health Cooperation Programme of the 7th Framework Programme, is hosting a public workshop, Normal and pathological brain ageing: from systems biology to the clinic.

The workshop, to be held on October 19, 2016, at the Imagine Institute in Paris, will bring together clinicians, biologists, bioinformaticians and statisticians to present the latest advances in the field.

To view the preliminary programme and register for the workshop, visit the AgedBrainSYSBIO website.

Ten international JPND working groups recommended for funding

The EU Joint Programme Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) has released the results of a “rapid-action” call to support working groups of leading scientists to bring forward novel approaches that will enhance the use of brain imaging for neurodegenerative disease research.

Ten working groups have been recommended for funding to address the methodological challenges facing different imaging modalities, among them MRI, PET, ultrasound, MEG and EEG, as well as multimodal approaches. The working groups cover a range of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Frontotemporal dementia and Huntington’s disease.

“Brain imaging has made enormous progress in recent years and is currently one of the most promising avenues in neurodegenerative disease research,” said Professor Thomas Gasser, Chair of the JPND Scientific Advisory Board. “If we can solve the challenges in the field, brain imaging could rapidly lead to faster and better diagnoses as well as a deeper understanding of the fundamental aspects and mechanisms of neurodegeneration.”

Although imaging techniques have brought about a dramatic improvement in the understanding of neurodegenerative diseases, there remain a number of significant challenges in the field. These include the execution of multi-centre clinical trials of an unprecedented scale, data transfer across imaging centres and the use of imaging for diagnostics and for measuring clinical outcomes.

To address these questions, on January 8, 2016, JPND launched a call for community-led working groups on harmonisation and alignment in brain imaging methods. The proposals recommended for funding are for top scientists to come together and propose, through ‘best practice’ guidelines and/or methodological frameworks, how to overcome key barriers to the use of imaging in neurodegenerative disease research.

The call attracted proposals with partners from across Europe and beyond, including Asia, Australia, North America and South America. A notable number of groups based in the United States were involved in responses to the call. Funding decisions were based upon scientific evaluation and recommendations to sponsor countries by a JPND peer review panel.

“This call perfectly embodies JPND’s mission and objectives,” said Professor Philippe Amouyel, Chair of the JPND Management Board. “The purpose of JPND is to strengthen coordination and collaboration in neurodegenerative disease research across different countries. We want to ensure that research efforts are not duplicated, to build consensus and to accelerate a path toward a cure that works. This call convenes groups of leading experts to hammer out the hard questions, including the challenges of interoperability and shared and open data, to allow researchers to more rapidly and more fully exploit imaging techniques going forward.”

Each working group is expected to run for a maximum of 9 months. The outputs of the working groups are to be produced by the end of the funding period, and will be published on the JPND website and used for further JPND actions. In addition, a common workshop will be organised to bring together and present the recommendations of each working group, encouraging the further exchange of ideas and wider dissemination to different stakeholder groups.

For more information on the working groups recommended for funding, click here.

ReigershoeveAt a recent meeting in Amsterdam, members of the JPND Management Board, which is the decision-making body of JPND, were invited to tour Reigershoeve, a patient-centered residential ‘care farm’ for people living with dementia.

Located in Heemskerk, about a half hour northwest of Amsterdam, Reigershoeve is home to 27 people living with dementia, according to Dieneke Smit, who started the care farm with her father, Henk Smit. The property includes a farm with animals, an art studio, a greenhouse and vast gardens. Residents are grouped into smaller homes, and are encouraged to help cook, clean and maintain the property in a community-living environment.



Dieneke Smit, who founded Reigershoeve with her father, Henk Smit, and Bart Kooiman, a Programme officer at ZonMw

Dieneke Smit, who founded Reigershoeve with her father, Henk Smit, and Bart Kooiman, a Programme officer at ZonMw.





Dieneke Smit leading a guided tour of the grounds at Reigershoeve.


The Reigershoeve farm includes pigs and donkeys.


Thank you to Dieneke and the rest of the Reigershoeve community for welcoming the JPND Management Board and showing us around! To learn more about Reigershoeve, visit the website.

Today the Lancet Neurology Commission released a major report detailing the state of research and patient care for Alzheimer´s disease and other dementias and providing recommendations for the future. The conclusion: A concerted effort and long-term economic commitment are critical to meeting the global challenge of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

The comprehensive report, which was the result of a collaborative effort between more than 30 leading researchers from around the world, will also be presented to the European Parliament Commissioners today in Brussels.

The Lancet Neurology Commission, initiated by Lancet editors, is led by Professor Bengt Winblad of the Center for Alzheimer Research at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. Winblad is also a member of the JPND Scientific Advisory Board and was the coordinator of BIOMARKAPD, a JPND project on Biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Three other members of the JPND Scientific Advisory Board, Prof. Martin Knapp (United Kingdom), Prof. Bruno Dubois (France), and Prof. Philip Scheltens (Netherlands), as well as the Chair of the JPND Management Board, Prof. Philippe Amouyel, participated as experts in this report. The commission was formed with the aim of providing expert recommendations and information to politicians and policymakers about Alzheimer´s disease and related dementias.

The report encompasses the fields of health economics, epidemiology, prevention, genetics, biology, diagnosis, treatment, care and ethics. To reduce the burden of dementia, the commission advocates that public governmental agencies form large multinational partnerships with academic centres and pharmaceutical companies to deploy capital resources and share risk.

“To defeat Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, united actions are needed, not only within research, but also within the political arena on all levels,” said Winblad. “My hope is that our work will stimulate increased national and international collaboration.”

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

Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders are one of the major targets of JPND, which as the largest global research initiative aimed at tackling the challenge of neurodegenerative diseases is cited in the report as an example of the sort of action needed to make meaningful progress. “To speed up progress even more, ” the report asserts, “this global collaboration must be extended to even more countries.”

For Winblad, the onus is now on governments to take action — and quickly: “What we need now is for the politicians to realise that this is a growing problem that already costs society tremendous amounts of money,” he said. “We need investments of resources in research in all areas involved in this disease, to find better drugs, but also to improve compassionate care and prevention.”

The Active and Assisted Living Programme (AAL), which aims to improve the conditions of life for older adults through the use information and communication technology (ICT), has opened its 2016 call, Living well with dementia.

The objective of the call is to advance the contribution of ICT to integrated solutions that enable the well being of people living with dementia and their communities, including their family, caregivers, neighbourhood, service providers and care system. The call aims to support innovative, transnational and multi-disciplinary collaborative projects with a clear route to market and added value for the different types of end users. A key priority underlying this challenge will be to bring together technologies and services to create ICT-based solutions addressing the specific aspirations and challenges of people living with dementia and their communities.

The submission deadline is 26 May 2016, 5PM CET. To learn more about the call or to register to watch the live webcast on 8 March, please visit the AAL website.

On 16 and 17 March 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) hosted its first Ministerial Conference on Global Action Against Dementia. Ministers from around the world, as well as experts from the research, clinical and NGO communities, came together in Geneva for the first time to discuss the global problems posed by dementia.

The aim is to raise awareness of the socio-economic burden created by dementia, and to highlight that this burden can be reduced if the world collectively commits to placing dementia high on the global public health agenda.

The first day of the conference covered issues from research and drug regulation to care and human rights. On the second day, ministers discussed how to collectively move the global dementia agenda forward.

The conference was supported by the Department of Health of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The recorded webcast from the two days of the event is available here and at the link below.

The  major outcome of the conference is that WHO member states have agreed to support a formal Call for Action setting out the intent to tackle dementia on an international scale and provide global leadership. The Call for Action was adopted by most of the countries that attended the conference. You can read the Call for Action on the WHO site.

WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan said

“We have been running behind the curve with dementia for a long time, but several recent events tell us that we are catching up. We must weave these multiple new initiatives into a comprehensive plan that can work in all countries. Government commitment will be key.”

Some of Europe’s brightest young leaders in research into dementia gathered in London on 27th February 2015 as part of a series of workshops to discuss innovative ideas to address the disease.

More than 50 young experts in fields such as neurology, psychiatry, cellular biology and sociology gathered for a series of discussions and workshops looking at how to help people with dementia live independently for longer and what needs to be done to find a cure. The experts were from 19 countries including the UK, The Netherlands, France, Sweden, Poland, Germany, Croatia, Slovenia and Belgium. Click here for a list of the Young Leaders who attended the workshop.

The workshop was hosted at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office by the UK Government’s Science and Innovation Network in partnership with the World Dementia Council and the Global Action Against Dementia programme, which were established after the UK Government hosted the 2013 G8 Summit on Dementia.

The young leaders were joined by members of the World Dementia Council, which was set up to provide global leadership on tackling the key dementia challenges. The event was also supported by the EU Joint Programming Initiative on Neurodegenerative Diseases (JPND) and Alzheimer Europe.

Flickr slideshow below courtesy of UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, under Creative Commons licence.

This was the fourth in a series of workshops for young leaders organised by the Science and Innovation Network to support global efforts to achieve the 2013 G8 Summit Declaration commitments.  Previous Young Leaders workshops have taken place in the USA, Canada and Japan with the aim to create a global network of future young leaders which will continue to address the challenges presented by dementia.

The recommendations and outcomes of these workshops will be presented at the World Health Organisation’s First Ministerial conference on Dementia on March 16-17 in Geneva, Switzerland.  At the same time, the global Young Leaders Network will sign up to supporting future activities of the Global Action Against Dementia and the World Dementia Council.


Robin Grimes, FCO Chief Scientific Adviser said:
“International science and innovation collaboration is critical to deliver the commitment made at G8 to identify a cure or a disease-modifying therapy for dementia by 2025. This and other young leaders events will make a major contribution by bringing together the best young minds across a range of scientific backgrounds to encourage new ideas and foster new opportunities for innovation.”


Philippe Amouyel of the EU Joint Programme on Neurodegnerative Diseases said:
“The scale of the dementia challenge demands a global response, beyond G7 countries. This latest young leader workshop is importing new perspectives and innovative ideas from all over Europe and beyond to tackle the dementia challenge. By harnessing the collective brains of these ambassadors of research we ensure the future of dementia research remains bright, efficient and globalised”.


Working in association with the meeting organisers and Alzheimer Europe, JPND member countries actively identified and partly-supported the participation of Young Leaders in the workshop. Indeed, several JPND members increased their allocated support to facilitate the participation of as many identified young leaders as possible.  JPND Management Board chair, Professor Philippe Amouyel represented JPND in the workshop. Click here to view Philippe’s JPND presentation on the day.

The event was also covered by JPND on twitter via @P_Amouyel@JPNDeurope as well as from the @UKinFrance@matt_houlihan accounts. Keep up to date using the twitter hashtag #YLDementia.



Experts in innovation in care and risk reduction recently met at the third Global Dementia Legacy event in Japan to explore how new technology can improve the lives of those with dementia, as well as looking at whether lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of developing dementia.

JPND chair, Philippe Amouyel presented JPND approaches in this area on day two of the conference. His slides can be viewed at the link below.

The fourth, and final legacy event will take place in Washington, DC, USA in February 2015.

The second in a series of four Global Dementia Legacy events took place on 11 and 12 September in the Canadian capital, Ottawa. The 200 delegates included experts from the research and industry sectors, health charities, patients, caregivers and government leaders.

The event entitled “Harnessing the power of discoveries: Maximizing academia-industry synergies” aimed to:

  • Explore collaborative opportunities for research into novel diagnostic, pre-emptive and therapeutic approaches to dementia.
  • Provide a better understanding of the impact of the paradigm shift in pharmaceutical research.
  • Foster a collective approach to problem-solving, using expert panel discussions to identify practical and creative solutions.

Canadian Health Minister, Rona Ambrose noted the significant impact of dementia on society and made a number of announcements regarding the Canadian Government’s approach, including the release of the “National Dementia Research and Prevention Plan”.

The next legacy event will be in Japan from 5 to 7 November and the final event in the series will take place in the US on 9 and 10 February 2015.