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PL4. How can research lead to better prevention?

Detailed programme and abstracts

PL4.1. Multidomain lifestyle interventions to prevent cognitive impairment and dementia: From FINGER to World-Wide FINGERS


1Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland, 2Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Background:Finding effective preventive interventions is crucial as we are facing the expected worldwide increase in the number of people living with dementia and Alzheimer´s disease (AD). Given the multifactorial etiology of dementia and late-onset AD, multi-domain interventions targeting several lifestyle-related and vascular risk factors are most likely to be effective.

Aims:This presentation gives an overview of the latest findings of the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER), and updates from the new global trials following the FINGER model.

Findings:FINGER is a pioneering trial providing the first evidence that a multi-domain lifestyle intervention may prevent cognitive impairment. New results concerning functional decline, quality of life, and other secondary outcomes will be presented. Application of the FINGER model in the public health context is explored in the Nordic countries, and various facilitators and barriers for implementing the FINGER intervention into everyday practice have been identified. FINGER represents a successful pragmatic model, which is now being tested in different geographical, cultural, and economic settings. Novel approaches include combination of lifestyle intervention with pharmacological intervention and use of modern technology. To promote synergy across these studies and optimize the efforts towards dementia prevention, we launched the World-Wide FINGERS network to share experiences and data, and plan joint initiatives, and over 25 countries have already joined.

Conclusions:There is increasing evidence that it is possible to prevent or postpone the onset of late-life cognitive impairment and dementia with multi-domain lifestyle interventions. Tailored multimodal interventions are most likely to be the most effective strategy to prevent AD/dementia. WW-FINGERS will facilitate synergistic use of data from several countries, creating a unique opportunity for rapid implementation of knowledge and definition of effective prevention programs for diverse populations.

PL4.2. The role of imaging in epidemiological studies: findings of the Rotterdam Scan Study


Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Observational cohort studies following large population of healthy individuals for occurrence of disease are an optimal setting to study determinants and risk factors for disease.  Neuro-epidemiologic studies have traditionally focused on studying these associations treating the pathway in between risk factor and outcome as a ‘black box’. With the availability of non-invasive, advanced neuroimaging techniques, it has become possible to directly study brain changes occurring in this ‘black box’. This importantly enables us to unravel pathways of diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, find new disease markers or identify subjects at high risk. Imaging in such population-based studies is also called ‘population imaging’:“the large-scale application and analysis of medical images in controlled population cohorts”. This lecture discusses the rationale of population neuroimaging, the various ways to extract visual or quantitative information from these images, and the implications for understanding etiology, disease prediction and clinical impact within the context of research on Alzheimer’s disease.

PL4.3. Prevention of dementia: time to act

KÖHLER Sebastian

Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands

Prevention of dementia through lifestyle interventions and risk management has gained much momentum during the past years. While strong causative evidence for many risk factors is lacking behind, the wealth of studies has shaped a common belief that “what is good for your heart is good for your brain”. Recent reports and guidelines from the Lancet Commission, the Global Brain Health Council and the World Health Organization echo the growing awareness in the field that primary prevention must be the key response to offset or at least postpone dementia onset. At the Alzheimer Europe conference 2018, the INTERDEM task force on dementia prevention has been launched to bring together experts in research on psychosocial risk factors and dementia prevention with the aim to develop a platform for joined research and put brain health high on everybody’s agenda. At the same time, there is a large need for better knowledge transfer of information on the link between lifestyle and brain health in older as well as younger populations. Several governmental agencies from both middle and high-income countries have started integrating brain health into their existing public health measures. In this presentation, the evolution of the field and current developments will be presented. The future direction is clear: it’s time to act!



Last Updated: Friday 30 August 2019


  • Acknowledgements

    The 29th AE Conference in The Hague received funding under an operating grant from the European Union’s Health Programme (2014-2020). Alzheimer Europe and Alzheimer Nederlands gratefully acknowledge the support of all conference sponsors.
  • European Union
  • Roche