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P21. Risk factors and prevention

Detailed programme and abstracts

P21.1. Nutrition - the lived experience of family carers

EASTON Avril1, REID Laura1, FAMILY CARER ADVOCATE Member of the Dementia Carers Campaign Network2

1The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland, 2Volunteer of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland

The Dementia Carers Campaign Network is an advocacy group of family carers that aims to be a voice of and for families impacted by dementia in Ireland. Listening to the lived experience of carers is crucial to understanding how best to improve the journey of dementia for the person diagnosed and the family caring for them. 

Our advocates identified the need for a peer-to-peer support for carers with regard to good nutrition for a loved one living with a diagnosis of dementia. Good nutrition is essential for the health and wellbeing of the person being cared for. It can be challenging for people with dementia to get the correct nutrition through food particularly as the illness can affect each person differently.

As our advocates had previously been involved in the production of the successful booklet ‘Eating Well with dementia, practical tips for family carers’ they determined the need for complimentary videos featuring carers. Their aim was to share their experiences of caring for a loved one to offer real life insight into the main topics detailed in the booklet.

Our advocates will present video clips which include their real-life experience and evidence based professional tips and information. The videos focus on aspects of nutrition from shopping for ingredients, preparing meals, dysphagia and the social impact of eating together. For example:

Our presentation will show the unique type of empathy and reassurance that peer-to-peer videos can offer family carers who find themselves in the upsetting situation of seeing a loved one struggle with eating and drinking or weight fluctuation.

The booklet ‘Eating Well with Dementia, practical tips for Family Carers,’ was funded through an educational grant by Nutricia. The organisation also collaborated with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland to support the Dementia Carers Campaign Network to create the complimentary videos.

P21.2. On the relationship between hearing and memory: evidence from 51 countries

CUTLER Stephen1, ILINCA Corina2

1University of Vermont, Burlington, United States, 2University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania

An increasing amount of research has examined the relationship between some aspect of hearing and some aspect of memory.  This body of evidence has consistently shown that hearing and memory are related to one another.  In fact, enough evidence exists that some have concluded that hearing loss may be a precursor to dementia in general and to Alzheimer’s disease in particular.  Yet, all such investigations are country specific:  although the findings tend to be consistent, the results are based on studies conducted primarily in one country.  The present study extends prior findings by looking at the relationship between hearing acuity and cognitive difficulties in 51 nations.  To do so, we draw upon data from the Integrated Public Use Micro-Sample International series (IPUMS-I) available at the Institute for Social Research and Data Innovation at the University of Minnesota.  Included in these samples of census data from individual countries is a series of questions assessing whether persons in the household have functional limitations.  Among these functional limitations are hearing and cognitive limitations. For each of the countries where data are available, we look at the bivariate relationships between hearing and cognitive problems using correlation coefficients (Rs) and at the multivariate relationships using linear regression techniques (Betas), controlling for age, sex, marital status, and education.  For the full set of 51 countries, the R between hearing problems and cognitive problems is 0.334 (p<.001) and the multivariate Beta is 0.316 (p<.001).  Among our principal conclusions are that the relationship between hearing and memory appears to be universal; that the results of our study support efforts to examine further the linkages between hearing and cognition; and that practitioners need to carefully assess their client’s hearing abilities before they expect them to be able to remember any information practitioners wish to provide.

P21.3. Anemia – A risk factor of Alzheimer’s disease in elderly people

DOSCAN Ana Maria, IOANCIO Ioana, IOANCIO Ioana, SPIRU Luiza, NICULESCU Mihaela Cosmina

1”Elias” Emergency University Hospital – Clinical Department of Geriatrics, Gerontology and Old Age Psychiatry, Bucharest, Romania

Introduction: Nowadays, researchers focus on discovering new risk factors involved in the development of cognitive impairment. And anemia seems to be involved in the deterioration of cognitive function. In elderly patients, anemia can be caused, most frequently, by: oncologic diseases, gastro-intestinal pathology, renal impairment, malabsorption/malnutrition, or the physiological process of ageing.

Aims: Our study`s primary objective was to demonstrate that in patients with cognitive impairment associated to anemia, this association has worsened their neurocognitive status.

Methods: We designed a retrospective observational research using patients from the Memory Clinic within” Elias” Emergency Hospital in Bucharest, Romania. All the patients were evaluated at admission with Standardized Geriatric Evaluation and hematological evaluation.     

Results: During 2015 in our Clinic 466 patients with dementia were admitted, thereof 67 also had associated Anemia. (14.37% patients with dementia and anemia).

Out of the Dementia lot, the distribution was as follows: 44.77% patients with Alzheimer disease (n=30), 52, 23% patients with Mixt Dementia (n=35), 2,98% patients with Vascular Dementia (n=2).

In the Anemia group, the distribution was as follows: Macrocytic 13.43%, Microcytic Anemia 31.34%, Deficiency Anemia 55.22%.

Conclusions: The extensive monitoring of patients with Alzheimer`s disease and anemia showed an improvement in the cognitive status after the diagnosis and personalized treatment of the cause (anemia), and also of the effects. The most common cause of anemia in elderly people consists of nutrients multiple deficits, so we decided to follow-up the patients at risk, both by the cognitive impairment as well as other comorbidities, for a longer period of time.

P21.4. Alfa: a national pilot cohort to improve prevention

FRASCA Guillaume

France Alzheimer and related diseases, Paris, France

Prevention is a key element to fight Alzheimer’s disease. It is estimated that about a third of all cases could be prevented through appropriate measures to mitigate potentially modifiable risk factors. It is also known that relatives of people living with dementia can be of higher risk due to shared factors (same genetic background, similar environment and behaviors, etc.). Another major issue is to take care of the caregivers’ health.

To address the importance of several genetic and environmental risk factors for dementia, France Alzheimer has decided to launch a unique research program called ALFA (for ALzheimer’s FAmilies).

A national cohort will be constituted gathering three groups: (i) people living with dementia, (ii) their caregivers and (iii) their relatives (parents, siblings, children).

These three groups will be followed by several clinical visits measuring their cognition for patients with dementia and their relatives, their overall, their overall health and medical history, whereas the caregivers will be asked about their burden and the care provided. A biobank of blood samples will be collected from people living with dementia and their relatives. Each participant will also be asked to answer several online questionnaires to assess their nutrition, physical activities and general knowledge about the disease. Finally, the cohort will form an online community connected through an Internet forum helping them to share tips and worries about the situation.

A pilot program will be set up by three memory centers, in Toulouse, Montpellier and Rouen. It is planned to follow 150 clusters (composed of one people living with dementia, one caregivers and one or several relatives) during 24 months. Its goal is to assess the feasibility of such a cohort.

P21.5. Risk of falling for people living with dementia at home: the Bavarian Dementia Survey (BayDem)


1Interdisciplinary Center for Health Technology Assessment (HTA) and Public Health (IZPH), Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU); Project consortium ‘Digital Dementia Registry Bavaria – digiDEM Bayern‘, Erlangen, Germany, 2Center for Health Services Research in Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Erlangen, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU); Project consortium ‘Digital Dementia Registry Bavaria – digiDEM Bayern‘, Erlangen, Germany

Background: People living with dementia (PLWD) are at high risk of falling. Loss of mobility and independence as well as increased mortality are often consequences of falls in these people. The objective of this study was to identify factors that influence the risk of falling for PLWD living at home.

Method: The Bavarian Dementia Survey (BayDem) is a multicenter longitudinal study that was carried out at three locations (Dachau, Erlangen, Kronach) in Bavaria. Participants were PWLD (according to ICD-10) who lived in a home environment and their caring relatives. Data were collected in standardized interviews in cooperation with local actors. The fall event was recorded with the question “Have you fallen in the past 6 months so that medical treatment was necessary?”.

Results: Data of 275 PLWD was analyzed at baseline. The fallen PLWD (n = 90) were older (82.56 vs. 80.14 years) compared to the non-fallen (n = 185), had a higher intake of medications (7.42 vs. 5.89), had a lower BMI (24.50 vs. 26.02) and a higher Mini-Mental-Status-Test score (18.01 vs. 16.94).

Conclusion: Potential risk factors for falls from PLWD were identified. These risk factors can potentially be positively changed through targeted interventions and therapies. So far, guidelines for fall prevention only exist for the institutional context. Therefore, further analyzes are required to be able to derive effective fall prevention measures based on these results, also for PWLD living at home. These should be aimed at both professional and informal caregivers to reduce the risk of falling for PLWD in as many ways as possible.

Funding: BayDem was funded by the Bavarian Ministry of Health and Care (funding code: G42b-G8092.9-2014/10-7).



Last Updated: Tuesday 30 June 2020


  • Acknowledgements

    The 30th AE Conference received funding under an operating grant from the European Union’s Health Programme (2014-2020). Alzheimer Europe gratefully acknowledges the support of all conference sponsors.
  • European Union
  • Roche