How the Dementia Access Taskforce is breaking through barriers for future treatments

One year on from the launch of the Dementia Access Taskforce, Melody Paton Borchardt looks at how the work of the Dementia Access Taskforce is breaking through barriers for future treatments | Alzheimer’s Research UK

The Dementia Access Taskforce is a partnership which brings together charities, researchers, pharmaceutical companies, government and people impacted by dementia. The group works to ensure early and accurate diagnosis is available and to prepare so future treatments reach people quickly.  Last year, the taskforce looked at the challenges future treatments for dementia might face in getting to people who need them.

These included:

  • the potential cost
  • the number of people with dementia
  • the resources needed for people to access a new treatment on the NHS.

Over the last year, the group has identified possible barriers for future treatments and created a plan to develop solutions.

The group has three main areas of focus:

  1. Earlier and accurate diagnosis.
  2. Cost of treatments and how to measure their value.
  3. Impact on the health system.

Full article at Alzheimer’s Research UK

Read more about the Dementia Access Taskforce here.

 

Future Alzheimer’s treatment

Report suggests joint actions and planning in Europe can help provide better coordinated and more timely care for Alzheimer’s patients | RAND Corporation

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  • The burden of Alzheimer’s disease in high-income countries is expected to approximately double between 2015 and 2050. Recent clinical trial results give hope that a disease-modifying therapy might become available in the near future. The therapy is expected to treat early-stage patients to prevent or delay the progression to dementia.
  • This preventive treatment paradigm implies the need to screen, diagnose, and treat a large population of patients with mild cognitive impairment. There would be many undiagnosed prevalent cases that would need to be addressed initially, and then the longer-term capacity to address incident cases would not need to be as high.
  • Researchers used a simulation model to assess the preparedness of the health care system infrastructure in six European countries — France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom — to evaluate, diagnose, and treat the expected number of patients.
  • Projected peak wait times range from five months for treatment in Germany to 19 months for evaluation in France. The first year without wait times would be 2030 in Germany and 2033 in France, and 2042 in the United Kingdom and 2044 in Spain. Specialist capacity is the rate-limiting factor in France, the United Kingdom, and Spain, and treatment delivery capacity is an issue in most of the countries.
  • If a disease-modifying therapy becomes available in 2020, we estimate the projected capacity constraints could result in over 1 million patients with mild cognitive impairment progressing to Alzheimer’s dementia while on wait lists between 2020 and 2050 in these six countries.

Recommendations

  • In addition to increasing specialist and infusion capacity in each individual country, joint actions and planning in Europe can help provide better coordinated and more timely care for Alzheimer’s patients.
  • A combination of reimbursement, regulatory, and workforce planning policies, as well as innovation in diagnosis and treatment delivery, is needed to expand capacity and to ensure that available capacity is leveraged optimally to treat patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Full report: Assessing the Preparedness of the Health Care System Infrastructure in Six European Countries for an Alzheimer’s Treatment | RAND Corporation

Gap in health care for Alzheimer’s disease patients who live alone

46% of patients who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in Sweden live alone in their homes, in particular older women, researchers report | ScienceDaily

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Swedish researchers report in an article published in the Journal of Alzheimer´s Disease that 46% of patients who are diagnosed with Alzheimer´s disease in Sweden live alone in their homes, in particular older women.

The patients who live alone do not receive the same extent of diagnostic investigations and anti-dementia treatment as those who are co-habiting. On the other hand, they were treated more frequently with antidepressants, antipsychotics and sedative drugs.

According to recent statistics, the number of older people who live alone in their homes, especially women, is increasing in high income countries. When an older person is affected by dementia, such as Alzheimer´s disease, they may not have a close relative living with them, which may complicate the course of the disease. Dementia affects their memory and later can lead to their dependency on caregivers.

Older people miss out on psychological therapies

Depression in older people is common, under-diagnosed, under-treated and attracts “therapeutic nihilism”, according to Professor Alistair Burns, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Dementia | OnMedica

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Prof Burns say while one in five older people have clinical depression, “contrary to some popular and professional opinion, it is eminently treatable”. He wants clinicians to offer a wider range of treatments and therapies to target depression and anxiety which are both associated with increased risk of more serious physical and mental health problems.

“Treatments for depression in older people are largely the same as in younger people and there is high quality and convincing evidence that older people respond very well to interventions,”

While exercise is a “very effective” treatment for depression, Prof Burns cites the Health Survey for England which showed that only 18% of men and 19% of women aged 55-64 undertake the recommended amount of regular exercise, a figure falling to 10% and 2% for people aged 75-85.

Read the full news story here