24. september 2013

Discovered new method to diagnose dementia patients

Scientists in the Nordic Research Network of Dementia Diagnostics are attempting to discover new methods for diagnosis patients with dementia. Their goal is to identify a method that is gentle, affordable, accurate and accessible. After a successful starting project, the researchers believe that a new EEGrecording method may make their goal possible to obtain.

The Nordic Research Network of Dementia Diagnostics consists of nine research groups from specialised Dementia treatment clinics in Lithuania and the five Nordic countries. The Nordic Council of Ministers and the Kavli Trust finances the research network. The research group goal is to harmonize diagnostic methods related to dementia evaluation, and thus contribute to earlier and improved ways to accurately diagnosing dementia patients.

Umbrella term
Dementia is an umbrella term for all dementia. The most common form of dementia is the Alzheimer’s disease, but several forms of dementia can also cause signs and symptoms similar to the Alzheimer’s disease. Patients suffering from dementia experiences progressive loss of intellectual function. They often change personality and lose control over their own behavior. It is important that doctors have access to excellent diagnostic aids that can distinguish what stage of dementia the patient suffers from.

The Kavli Trust
Knut Kavli established the Kavli Trust in 1962. The Kavli Trust owns the Kavli Group and distributes the profits in accordance with Knut Kavli’s will. In 2012, the Kavli Trust donated 25 million to the trusts three focus areas: humanitarian work, research and culture.

With support from the Kavli Trust six research groups from the Nordic research network of Dementia has collaborated on a new project that measures brain activity by using a quantitative EEG recording, a method developed by Icelandic entrepreneurs. The researchers analyze the EEG recordings from dementia illness, by comparing EEG samples of healthy individuals, patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The researchers have investigated whether the method can identify patients in a very early phase of dementia (cognitive impairment) from the patients with a more in amore developed stage of dementia.

Very successful start for the EEG project
In June 2013, the researchers met in Reykjavik to discuss the preliminary results of the EEG project. They concluded that the network’s first collaboration project has been very successful. With limited funds, the researchers have been able to conduct a joint Nordic research project that will add to the knowledge pool regarding the usefulness of qualitative EEG recordings in early dementia diagnosis. All of the participating research groups have worked based on the same protocol in a satisfactory manner so it has been possible to combine data from all groups. The scientists now hold complete clinical data on 377 patients and 144 control subjects. So far, the data seems to be sufficiently robust for the researchers to analyze and interpret. The final results of the research will eventually be published in a scientific journal.