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CORDIS Express: Researchers take on dementia

This week’s edition of CORDIS Express presents EU-funded projects focused on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of dementia.

As Europe’s population ages, we can expect to face a major increase in age-related diseases, and perhaps one of the most prominent and distressing of these is dementia. Dementia – a decline in mental ability which primarily affects the elderly – is most commonly caused by Alzheimer's disease (about 50-70 % of cases in the EU) or successive strokes which lead to multi-infarct dementia (about 30 % of EU cases). About 6 to 7 million people today suffer from dementia in the EU. Dementia disorders are chronic, progressive, long lasting and, so far, incurable. The disease has enormously damaging effects on the lives of the individuals that are diagnosed and their families. The need for expensive care and the demands of informal care combined with the high prevalence of the disease mean that it also has a growing impact on the medical and social sectors. Indeed it is estimated that the cost of dementia in Europe stands at EUR 177 billion, and there is a growing gap between burden and budget. Research into prevention, diagnosis and treatment is key. Under the FP7 programme, research into dementia was supported in particular under the activity on ‘Research on the brain and related diseases’ with a specific emphasis on the translation of basic discoveries into clinical applications. We see the fruits of this investment in the work of some of the projects featured this week. For example, the IN-MINDD, which ends in October, is designing and testing a state of the art electronic system to profile individual’s dementia risks and respond to those risks with a combination of on-line strategies and locally sourced options. Under Horizon 2020, tackling dementia falls under the societal challenge of Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing. Between 2014 and 2015, the EU expects to invest some EUR 1 200 million in this challenge, and some of the projects in this area are already coming on stream. For example the E-SPACE, which launched at the beginning of July, will work to enhance the clinical utility of cognitive tests related to dementia among other things. This week’s edition of CORDIS Express presents these and other projects focused on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of dementia, as well as related news. - Healthy living lowers dementia risk - Factors predisposing to dementia - VPH Dementia Research Enabled by IT - Improving dementia care with patient-focused apps - European Standardised Process Approach to Cognitive Evaluation in older people - Trending science: Study reveals dramatic differences in rates of ageing

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