Lefkos Middleton: Dementia research is focussing on genetic markers
Article information and share options
Lefkos Middleton, Professor of Neurology and Chair Neuroepidemiology and Ageing Research, School of Public Health, Imperial College London gave a keynote on "Prevention strategies for Alzheimer's disease and other late onset dementias" at the Swiss Re Institute's NGIC 2017: Solutions for an ageing society conference at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue.
Read a text version of this video below:
Dementia is a disease that is very much linked to older age. It seems that the incidence and prevalence of disease doubles every five years after the age of 65 to reach approximately 40% in people over the age of 80. Prevention is the only solution moving forward. We know that once the disease is established, the pathological damage is so severe that there is nothing that can be done. Intervening before symptoms occur, seems to be the only solution. But unfortunately, we lack markers, and we cannot treat everyone over the age of 60 for instance, with a new drug that may halt the disease. We need markers, and the main effort of the pharmaceutical industry and public funders is to identify those markers.
We are getting an increasing number of reports that the overall incidence and prevalence is falling by about 20%. We think that the main driver for this change is that older people these days live much healthier lives and much more active lives. We know that there are several modifiable factors that can help, and they relate to how well one controls diabetes, blood pressure, weight, and how much one is active in terms of physical activities, mental activities, and even social activities.