EU-FINGERS features prominently at the 9th Kuopio Alzheimer Symposium

The 9th Kuopio Alzheimer Symposium was organised this year as a joint event together with the Nordic Memory Clinic Conference on 23–25 August 2022 in Kuopio (Sweden).

Sirpa Pietikäinen, member of the European Parliament gave the opening words and welcomed all delegates to the event which attract on average 300 participants annually, including clinicians, nurses, psychologists, scientists, students or other professionals who focus in their work on memory disorders. The event continued the tradition of the previous symposia by focusing on the existing and emerging concepts in neurodegeneration and genetic and personalized medicine in Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, prediction of Alzheimer’s disease, update on biomarker studies, new progresses in co-morbidities related to Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, clinical advances in prevention and therapy, and new insights from clinical and intervention studies were covered. A key theme of the event was Public Involvement. On the first day, a satellite meeting on Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) was organised.

Anna Rosenberg (Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare and Karolinska Institutet, Sweden) presented the EU-FINGERS Advisory Board and its significant contribution to the project. Coordinated by Alzheimer Europe, the EU-FINGERS Advisory Board provides feedback and advice to the EU-FINGERS researchers about various topics and issues linked to the research activities conducted by the consortium.

Then, Ana Diaz (Alzheimer Europe, Luxembourg) gave tips and advices on how to conduct PPI in the context of research projects related to dementia. In addition to these presentations, two testimonials were given by Chris Roberts and Jayne Goodrick, both members of the EU-FINGERS Advisory Board. “People with dementia have a right to be involved in research. PPI needs to be a true productive collaboration. We need to work together to make progress in the field.”, said Chris Roberts.

The event concluded with an oral session entitled “New advancements in prevention and therapies of neurodegenerative diseases”. Inspired by the positive results of the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER), a global initiative called World-Wide FINGERS (WW-FINGERS) has been established to expand the findings globally while optimizing the intervention. EU-FINGERS is part of the global WW-FINGERS network of multidomain trials for dementia risk reduction and prevention.

First, Miia Kivipelto (Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden and University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland) gave an update on the WW-FINGERS study, showing several beneficial effects of the multidomain intervention, and its cost-effectiveness. Next, Francesca Mangialasche (Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden) reported the impact of COVID-19 on dementia prevention strategies, with multinational data from the WW-FINGERS-SARS-CoV-2 initiative, which covers 20+ countries (21000+ participants).

Following the presentation on multidomain interventions and their novel mechanisms by Tobias Hartmann (Saarland University, Homburg, Germany), Ana Diaz presented the Public Involvement work that Alzheimer Europe is doing in several EU projects including the JPND-Europe funded project EU-FINGERS. Finally, Wiesje van der Flier (Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC Netherlands) presented the FINGER-NL study, which is a two-year long intervention study researching the effect of a combination of lifestyle interventions plus medical food on the cognitive abilities of elderly people in the Netherlands. Miia Kivipelto then drew the meeting to a close, thanking all the speakers and participants for their active contribution. The programme of the conference can be seen here:

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