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2.  Advances in the prevention of Alzheimer's Disease 
F1000Prime Reports  2015;7:50.
Alzheimer's disease (AD), the leading cause of dementia, has reached epidemic proportions, with major social, medical and economical burdens. With no currently available curative treatments, both the World Health Organization and the G8 Dementia Summit recently identified dementia and AD prevention as a major public health priority. Dementia and AD have a wide range of risk factors (genetic, vascular/metabolic and lifestyle-related), which often co-occur and thus interact with each other. Previous intervention efforts aimed at preventing dementia and AD focused on the management of single risk factors, with relatively modest findings. Also, the effect of risk factors depends on age at exposure, indicating that the timing of preventive interventions needs to be carefully considered. In view of the complex multifactorial nature of AD, as well as its long pre-clinical (asymptomatic) phase, interventions simultaneously targeting multiple risk factors and disease mechanisms at an early stage of the disease are most likely to be effective. Three large European multidomain prevention trials have been launched with the goal of preventing cognitive decline, dementia and AD in older adults with different risk profiles. Pharmacological trials are also shifting towards prevention of Alzheimer dementia, by targeting at-risk individuals prior to the onset of cognitive symptoms. The current review will summarize and discuss the evidence on risk and protective factors from observational studies, ongoing lifestyle-related and pharmacological randomized controlled trials (RCTs), as well as future directions for dementia and AD prevention.
PMCID: PMC4447057  PMID: 26097723
3.  Advances in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia 
Journal of internal medicine  2014;275(3):229-250.
Definitions and diagnostic criteria for all medical conditions are regularly subjected to reviews and revisions as knowledge advances. In the field of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research, it has taken almost three decades for diagnostic nomenclature to undergo major re-examination. The shift towards presymptomatic and pre-dementia stages of AD has brought prevention and treatment trials much closer to each other than before. Here we discuss: (i) the impact of diagnostic reliability on the possibilities for developing preventive strategies for AD; (ii) the scientific evidence to support moving from observation to action; (iii) ongoing intervention studies; and (iv) the methodological issues and prospects for balancing strategies for high-risk individuals with those for broad population-based prevention. The associations between neuropathology and cognition are still not entirely clear. In addition, the risk factors for AD dementia and the neuropathological hallmarks of AD may not necessarily be the same. Cognitive impairment has a clearer clinical significance and should therefore remain the main focus of prevention. Risk/protective factors for dementia/AD need to be studied from a life-course perspective. New approaches in prevention trials include enrichment strategies based on genetic risk factors or beta-amyloid biomarkers (at least four ongoing pharmacological trials), and multidomain interventions simultaneously targeting various vascular and lifestyle-related risk factors (at least three ongoing trials). Experience from prevention programmes in other chronic diseases can provide additional methodological improvements. Building infrastructures for international collaborations is necessary for managing the worldwide public health problem of AD and dementia. The International Database on Aging and Dementia (IDAD) and the European Dementia Prevention Initiative (EDPI) are examples of ongoing international efforts aiming to improve the methodology of preventive studies and provide the basis for larger intervention trials.
PMCID: PMC4390027  PMID: 24605807
Alzheimer’s disease; biomarkers; clinical trials; dementia; prevention
4.  Prevalence, Pharmacological Treatment, and Control of Cardiometabolic Risk Factors among Older People in Central Stockholm: A Population-Based Study 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0119582.
Cardiometabolic risk factors and related cardiovascular diseases represent major threats to healthy aging.
We aimed to estimate distribution, pharmacological treatment, and control of main cardiometabolic risk factors among older people.
This population-based study included 3363 participants (age≥60 years, 64.9% women) in the Swedish National study on Aging and Care in Kungsholmen, in central Stockholm, Sweden (2001-2004). Data on demographics, cardiometabolic risk factors (hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol), and medication use were collected through face-to-face interviews, clinical examinations, laboratory tests, and the inpatient register. Cardiometabolic risk factors were defined following the most commonly used criteria. Prevalence was standardized using local census data.
The age- and sex-standardized prevalence of diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, and hypertension was 9.5%, 12.8%, 49.7%, and 74.9%, respectively. The prevalence of hypertension and diabetes increased with age, whereas the prevalence of obesity and high cholesterol decreased with age. Forty-nine percent of older adults had two or more cardiometabolic risk factors; 9.8% had three or more. Overall, 55.5% of people with hypertension, 50.3% with diabetes, and 25.0% with high cholesterol received pharmacological treatment. Of those treated pharmacologically, 49.4%, 38.1%, and 85.5% reached therapeutic goals for hypertension (blood pressure<150/90 mmHg), diabetes (glycated haemoglobin<7%), and high cholesterol (total cholesterol<6.22 mmol/l), respectively.
Hypertension, high cholesterol, and clustering of cardiometabolic risk factors were common among older people in Stockholm, but pharmacological treatment and control of these major factors can be improved. Appropriate management of cardiometabolic profiles among older people may help improve cardiovascular health and achieve healthy aging.
PMCID: PMC4370718  PMID: 25799502
5.  Age-Related Variation in Health Status after Age 60 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0120077.
Disability, functionality, and morbidity are often used to describe the health of the elderly. Although particularly important when planning health and social services, knowledge about their distribution and aggregation at different ages is limited. We aim to characterize the variation of health status in a 60+ old population using five indicators of health separately and in combination.
3080 adults 60+ living in Sweden between 2001 and 2004 and participating at the SNAC-K population-based cohort study. Health indicators: number of chronic diseases, gait speed, Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), disability in instrumental-activities of daily living (I-ADL), and in personal-ADL (P-ADL).
Probability of multimorbidity and probability of slow gait speed were already above 60% and 20% among sexagenarians. Median MMSE and median I-ADL showed good performance range until age 84; median P-ADL was close to zero up to age 90. Thirty% of sexagenarians and 11% of septuagenarians had no morbidity and no impairment, 92% and 80% of them had no disability. Twenty-eight% of octogenarians had multimorbidity but only 27% had some I-ADL disability. Among nonagenarians, 13% had severe disability and impaired functioning while 12% had multimorbidity and slow gait speed.
Age 80-85 is a transitional period when major health changes take place. Until age 80, most people do not have functional impairment or disability, despite the presence of chronic disorders. Disability becomes common only after age 90. This implies an increasing need of medical care after age 70, whereas social care, including institutionalization, becomes a necessity only in nonagenarians.
PMCID: PMC4348523  PMID: 25734828
6.  Clinical trials and late-stage drug development for Alzheimer’s disease: an appraisal from 1984 to 2014 
Journal of internal medicine  2014;275(3):251-283.
The modern era of drug development for Alzheimer’s disease began with the proposal of the cholinergic hypothesis of memory impairment and the 1984 research criteria for Alzheimer’s disease. Since then, despite the evaluation of numerous potential treatments in clinical trials, only four cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine have shown sufficient safety and efficacy to allow marketing approval at an international level. Although this is probably because the other drugs tested were ineffective, inadequate clinical development methods have also been blamed for the failures. Here we review the development of treatments for Alzheimer’s disease during the past 30 years, considering the drugs, potential targets, late-stage clinical trials, development methods, emerging use of biomarkers and evolution of regulatory considerations in order to summarize advances and anticipate future developments. We have considered late-stage Alzheimer’s disease drug development from 1984 to 2013, including individual clinical trials, systematic and qualitative reviews, meta-analyses, methods, commentaries, position papers and guidelines. We then review the evolution of drugs in late clinical development, methods, biomarkers and regulatory issues. Although a range of small molecules and biological products against many targets have been investigated in clinical trials, the predominant drug targets have been the cholinergic system and the amyloid cascade. Trial methods have evolved incrementally: inclusion criteria have largely remained focused on mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease criteria, recently extending to early or prodromal Alzheimer disease or ‘mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease’, for drugs considered to be disease modifying. The duration of trials has remained at 6 to 12 months for drugs intended to improve symptoms; 18- to 24-month trials have been established for drugs expected to attenuate clinical course. Cognitive performance, activities of daily living, global change and severity ratings have persisted as the primary clinically relevant outcomes. Regulatory guidance and oversight have evolved to allow for enrichment of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease trial samples by using biomarkers and phase-specific outcomes. In conclusion, validated drug targets for Alzheimer’s disease remain to be developed. Only drugs that affect an aspect of cholinergic function have shown consistent, but modest, clinical effects in late-phase trials. There is opportunity for substantial improvements in drug discovery and clinical development methods.
PMCID: PMC3956752  PMID: 24605808
Alzheimer; dementia; drug development; clinical trial; treatment
7.  Recruitment and Baseline Characteristics of Participants in the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER)—A Randomized Controlled Lifestyle Trial † 
Our aim is to describe the study recruitment and baseline characteristics of the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER) study population. Potential study participants (age 60–77 years, the dementia risk score ≥6) were identified from previous population-based survey cohorts and invited to the screening visit. To be eligible, cognitive performance measured at the screening visit had to be at the mean level or slightly lower than expected for age. Of those invited (n = 5496), 48% (n = 2654) attended the screening visit, and finally 1260 eligible participants were randomized to the intervention and control groups (1:1). The screening visit non-attendees were slightly older, less educated, and had more vascular risk factors and diseases present. The mean (SD) age of the randomized participants was 69.4 (4.7) years, Mini-Mental State Examination 26.7 (2.0) points, systolic blood pressure 140.1 (16.2) mmHg, total serum cholesterol 5.2 (1.0) mmol/L for, and fasting glucose 6.1 (0.9) mmol/L for, with no difference between intervention and control groups. Several modifiable risk factors were present at baseline indicating an opportunity for the intervention. The FINGER study will provide important information on the effect of lifestyle intervention to prevent cognitive impairment among at risk persons.
PMCID: PMC4199023  PMID: 25211775
cognitive impairment; dementia; Alzheimer’s disease; lifestyle; intervention; randomized controlled trial
8.  Dementia prevention: current epidemiological evidence and future perspective 
Dementia, a major cause of disability and institutionalization in older people, poses a serious threat to public health and to the social and economic development of modern society. Alzheimer's disease (AD) and cerebrovascular diseases are the main causes of dementia; most dementia cases are attributable to both vascular and neurodegenerative brain damage. No curative treatment is available, but epidemiological research provides a substantial amount of evidence of modifiable risk and protective factors that can be addressed to prevent or delay onset of AD and dementia. Risk of late-life dementia is determined by exposures to multiple factors experienced over the life course, and the effect of specific risk/protective factors depends largely on age. Moreover, cumulative and combined exposure to different risk/protective factors can modify their effect on dementia/AD risk. Multidisciplinary research involving epidemiology, neuropathology, and neuroimaging has provided sufficient evidence that vascular risk factors significantly contribute to the expression and progression of cognitive decline (including dementia) but that active engagement in social, physical, and mentally stimulating activities may delay the onset of dementia. However, these findings need to be confirmed by randomized controlled trials (RCTs). A promising strategy for preventing dementia is to implement intervention programs that take into account both the life-course model and the multifactorial nature of this syndrome. In Europe, there are three ongoing multidomain interventional RCTs that focus on the optimal management of vascular risk factors and vascular diseases. The RCTs include medical and lifestyle interventions and promote social, mental, and physical activities aimed at increasing the cognitive reserve. These studies will provide new insights into prevention of cognitive impairment and dementia. Such knowledge can help researchers plan larger, international prevention trials that could provide robust evidence on dementia/AD prevention. Taking a step in this direction, researchers involved in these European RCTs recently started the European Dementia Prevention Initiative, an international collaboration aiming to improve strategies for preventing dementia.
PMCID: PMC3471409  PMID: 22339927

Results 1-8 (8)