Nordic co-operation on dementia research

20.04.2010
The next 35 years will see a doubling in the number of people with dementia in the Nordic countries. - We must crack the dementia code. Advanced dementia research is extremely important for the Nordic welfare societies in the coming years," says Siv Friðleifsdóttir, Chair of the Welfare Committee in the Nordic Council. “The Nordic Network in Dementia Diagnostics (NIDD)” supported by NordForsk, strive to enhance the knowledge on the causes of dementia.
Dementia is one of the most common mental diseases. It increases dramatically with the aging of the Nordic population. At the same time, more younger people are being diagnosed with dementia. Early diagnostics is crucial, but unfortunately the actual causes of dementia are discovered far too late in the disease process.

The research network ”The Nordic Network in Dementia Diagnostics (NIDD)” lead by Professor Lars Olof Wahlund at Karolinska Institutet strive to enhance the knowledge on the causes of dementia. A multidisciplinary consortium of nine research groups from five Nordic countries and Lithuania collaborate to harmonise diagnostic working methods and contribute to earlier and enhanced diagnostics. – We are working on validation projects on diagnostics methods that are relatively reasonable in cost and we will be using joint Nordic work-up protocols, says Anne Rita Öksengård, coordinator of the research network. The use of this protocol may contribute to enhancing the understanding and quality assurance of dementia diagnostics.

On a recent visit to Ullevål University Hospital in Oslo, the Welfare Committee learnt more about the potential for improving Nordic co-operation in this field. Friðleifsdóttir, who is also the former Icelandic health minister, considers the potential for Nordic synergy in such research to be great. She believes in a closer Nordic collaboration in the development of improved methods of treatment.

The Nordic countries are often markets with too small a potential individually for the pharmaceutical industry to finance trials of new types of treatment. - With closer Nordic co-operation on dementia care and advanced research into dementia we can give this group of people a better quality of life," says Siv Friðleifsdóttir.


Text: Lisa H. Ekli
Photo: Johannes Jansson, norden.org

Sources:
Norden.org: ”Crack the dementia code”
DR.dk: ”Dobbelt så mange demente i Norden”
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