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NVO Futura Montenegro involved in research project DEMONSTRATE

Monday 22 March 2021

The Faculty of Medicine in Podgorica conducts research on Alzheimer's disease (AD), within a project funded by Ministry of Science of Montenegro. The project is called "New methods for risk stratification for the progression of cancer and AD in patients in Montenegro – DEMONSTRATE“. Alzheimer Europe's national member association in Montenegro, NVO Futura, provides the following report on the research being conducted in this project:

It has been shown that the incidences of AD and cancer are inversely correlated. Probably, in these two diseases, signal pathways are deregulated in the opposite direction, but these mechanisms have still not been elucidated. The proposed research will be focused on the study of the specific circulatory miRNA levels, which are involved in the pathogenesis of both diseases. Based on this research approach, one of the project's aims is to find circulatory biomarkers for AD, with the potential for clinical application.

Despite the pandemic, that has slowed research activities, the DEMONSTRATE team, with the help of the non-governmental organisation Futura, has made significant progress on data and sample collection and is currently working on isolation of circulating micro-RNAs. The next important phase of the study aims to use the RT-qPCR approach to determine differences in expression patterns of selected micro-RNA species between the group of participants with colon cancer and normal cognitive function, and the group with AD, but no history of cancer.

Based on the part of the clinical data that has been analysed so far, DEMONSTRATE team members presented their research at the  14th World Congress on Controversies in Neurology – CONy,  in late 2020. The poster titled “Improving the Diagnosis of Cognitive Impairment in Montenegro- on the Path of Learning” by Isidora Rovčanin Dragović, Ljiljana Radulović, Jevto Eraković, Miodrag Radunović, Goran Popivoda, Tijana Vuković and Nataša Popović was presented at the conference.

Since the estimated prevalence of dementia in Montenegro was lower compared to most of the European countries in 2019 (1.06%), this research tried to answer why dementia in Montenegro is underdiagnosed. The results suggest that there is a need for continuous education at the primary health care level and the use of adequate screening tools by physicians. Results also identified a negative behavioural model in patients and delays in medical consultation, related to stigma. The DEMONSTRATE team is now also working on designing research to identify the level of stigma among the general public, in order to raise awareness about AD and dementia in Montenegro.