5. desember 2011

Supporting international diagnostic trials

Many years of backing for the Kavli research centre for aging and dementia is now being extended by the Kavli Trust to international scientists at seven different clinics. They are testing a new method for simpler diagnosis of various dementia conditions.

Dementia can be difficult to diagnose in its early stages, and distinguishing various forms of the condition from each other can be particularly challenging.

Dementia is widely characterised as the scourge of the elderly, and many people have seen relatives and friends lose their sense of identity and contact with others.

The condition can be caused by various forms of damage to the brain, with Alzheimer’s Disease as the most frequent. This is followed by strokes.

Virtually all dementia conditions are progressive, with the illness spreading to more and more areas of the brain and making the sufferer increasingly helpless.

Deteriorating functional ability, mental problems and changed behaviour throw a growing burden on carers, who have difficulties understanding and knowing how to help the patient.

A research team in Iceland has introduced a new method for using electroencephalography (EEG) in diagnosing Alzheimer’s.

Seven memory clinics in Reykjavik, Stockholm, Kaunas, Copenhagen, Roskilde, Bergen and Oslo have joined forces in a research project on this technique.

The aim is to establish whether the new way of using EEG can separate people with Alzheimer’s from those with other forms of dementia or other reasons for loss of memory function.

“Positive results would mark an important step towards simpler methods for diagnosing various dementia conditions, particularly Alzheimer’s,” says Professor Knut Engedal at the Norwegian Centre for Research, Education and Service Development in Aging and Health.