The reviewed paper here is ‘A Roadmap for the Prevention of Dementia: The Inaugural Leon Thal Symposium‘. The Symposium as it’s name suggests is dedicated to the memory of Leon Thal, a towering figure in the field of Alzheimer’s Disease Research. The meeting was attended by over 40 key figures in Alzheimer’s Research and was based in Las Vegas. The chair of the meeting was Dr Zaven Khachaturian. The delegates were divided into groups each of which considered a unique set of questions relating to the prevention of Alzheimer’s DIsease. The groups then gave their recommendations.
What was interesting was that the conventional Phase I-III studies were identified as being innappropriate for addressing the issue of prevention.
Having a better understanding of the disease process was identified as a key factor in developing prevention strategies. Key to this would be identification of the precursors of the Alzheimer’s Disease process.
Looking at various presynaptic, postsynaptic targets as well as the tangles and plaques were unsuprising possibilities for further consideration. The importance of new imaging technologies as well as new potential therapeutic technologies including nanotechnology were considered. The importance of long term longitudinal studies was also stressed.
The separation of funding for research and clinical care are perhaps more relevant to the american healthcare system.
An intriguing finding that was discussed was the slower decline in the placebo group in more recent trials. Perhaps this might be representative of the general population?
The groups considered a number of other areas including the shaping of clinical trials and the funding of research particularly as there is expected to be a large disease burden in the next few decades unless such prevention strategies are introduced.
Whilst many of the issues were specific to the American Healthcare System, the symposium is an invaluable one and produced the considerations necessary for forming a long term research strategy. This was in effect a consensus meeting for issues relevant to research policy and will have the problems inherent in such designs. It would be interesting to see what policies would be considered by the families of those with dementia or those in the early stages of dementia.
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