The UEF defines Dementia as “an umbrella term for several diseases affecting memory, other cognitive abilities, and behavior that interfere significantly with a person’s ability to maintain their activities of daily living”.
It causes disability and dependence, considerably disrupting the daily lives of not only sufferers but their family and care providers.
Professor Miia Kivipelto
Professor Miia Kivipelto is a Finnish neuroscientist who was recognized as Neuroscientist of the Year by the Brain Research Society of Finland at a conference in May 2018. Her work involves increasing understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and promoting patient well-being. Because of this, she was there giving a lecture on Multi-domain interventions to prevent cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. She holds a professorship in neurogeriatrics at the University of Eastern Finland (UEF), while also having one in clinical geriatric epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet (KI).
Miia also received the Academy of Finland Award for Social Impact in 2009. In addition to this, she received the Junior Chamber International Award as Outstanding Young Person in 2011.
Her background involves studying medicine at the University of Kuopio and becoming a medical doctor in 1999. After that, she specialized in geriatrics. Later, she began conducting research, gaining her Ph.D. in 2002 with her thesis on vascular risk factors with Alzheimer’s disease.
WHO dementia risk reduction guidelines
Guidelines on risk reduction of cognitive declines and dementia are being released by the WHO. In particular, Miia (who leads her team “the Nordic Brain Network”) contributed substantially, more or less developing and defining them.
Almost 50 million people are affected by dementia, with a new case being reported every 3 seconds. Therefore, if no interventions to slow or cure Alzheimer’s disease or dementia-causing disorders are identified, this could triple by 2050. At this time, unfortunately, there are no medicines to combat dementia. However, modifiable risk factors like diet, physical activity, and social interaction mean that about 30% of cases are preventable. Though, the largest risk factor, despite not being a certain cause, is still age.
Summary of recommendations
These are found in detail, starting on page 29 of the Risk reduction of cognitive decline and dementia WHO Guidelines.
- Physical activity for adults
- Tobacco cessation (quitting smoking) for adults
- Nutrition for adults:
- Mediterranean-like or otherwise healthy, balanced diet
Vitamins B & E, polyunsaturated fatty acids and multi-complex supplementation
- Reducing or ceasing hazardous and harmful drinking for adults
- Cognitive training for the elderly
- Social participation, support, and inclusion
- Weight management for mid-life overweight and obese
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The writer of the blog post:
WHO releases guidelines for dementia prevention with help from the Nordic Brain Network – News | UEF
Awards | Suomen aivotutkimusseura
Professor Miia Kivipelto wins Neuroscientist of Year award – News | UEF
Portrait of Professor Miia Kivipelto | Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society | Karolinska Institutet
WHO | Risk reduction of cognitive decline and dementia