EU-FINGERS in a nutshell

What is the project about?

EU-FINGERS is working on the topic of brain health as people age.

We want to find ways to reduce the likelihood of developing Alzheimer´s disease and other brain disorders leading to memory problems and dementia. We also aim to discover ways to slow down the progression of Alzheimer´s disease and other brain disorders in people who have already been diagnosed.

It is never too early and never too late to take action and maximize your chances to keep your brain healthy and preserve your cognitive abilities for longer.


Who we are

EU-FINGERS is a European consortium led by researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. The consortium includes researchers, clinicians, and the advocacy group Alzheimer Europe. We have over 20 years of experience in the field of Alzheimer´s disease and other brain disorders leading to memory problems and dementia.

Partners of the EU-FINGERS consortium are:

  • Coordinating Center: Sweden: Karolinska Institutet (KI)
  • Finland: National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL); Combinostics Oy
  • Germany: Saarland University (DIDP)
  • Hungary: National Institute of Clinical Neurosciences (NICN); Semmelweis University
  • Luxembourg: University of Luxembourg, Centre for Systems Biomedicine (Uni-LCSB); Alzheimer Europe (AE)
  • Netherlands: VU University Medical Center (VUmc)
  • Spain: Barcelonaβeta Brain Research Center (BBRC, IMIM), Fundación CITA-Alzheimer Fundazioa (CITA)

Why this work is so important

Research conducted by EU-FINGERS partners and others has identified many factors associated with the likelihood of developing Alzheimer´s disease and dementia. While there are some risk factors you cannot control, such as increasing age and genetics, many factors can be managed to support brain health. These include:

  • A healthy lifestyle: for example, doing physical exercise, eating a healthy diet, staying mentally and socially active.
  • Appropriate medical treatments of health conditions, such as good control of blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood cholesterol levels.

Research conducted by EU-FINGERS partners and others has identified many factors associated with the likelihood of developing Alzheimer´s disease and dementia. While there are some risk factors you cannot control, such as increasing age and genetics, many factors can be managed to support brain health. These include:

The research done so far has highlighted two important facts that we need to keep in mind when planning interventions to maintain brain health and prevent or slow down cognitive deterioration:

  • Prevention programs should simultaneously consider multiple factors and mechanisms linked to Alzheimer´s disease: this is called the Multidomain Approach. We successfully tested a multidomain approach in the FINGER clinical trial, in which we showed that a two-year combination of lifestyle interventions – including physical exercise, healthy diet, cognitive and social stimulation, and monitoring of heart health risk factors – improved cognitive abilities (memory and thinking) in older adults at high risk of developing dementia.
  • There is no one-size-fits-all solution: prevention programs need to be tailored to the unique characteristics of each person, including his or her lifestyle, genes, and health status. This method is called Precision Prevention, and it is successfully used for other health conditions.

What we want to accomplish

We aim to develop effective and achievable Precision Prevention strategies to preserve cognitive abilities.

To reach this objective, we work to develop tools and methods for researchers working in the area of brain health and prevention of Alzheimer’s dementia. These tools and methods will allow us to conduct new clinical trials, to find effective multidomain programmes to reduce the risk or to slow down Alzheimer´s disease and other brain disorders leading to memory problems and dementia.

The tools and methods that are being developed by the EU-FINGERS consortium include:

Tools to estimate the individual risk of developing brain changes related to Alzheimer´s disease, as well as the risk of developing memory problems and dementia. The tools can be based on personal information (lifestyle, health status), and should help identify people who are at risk of experiencing cognitive decline and/or of developing Alzheimer’s dementia. The tools should also be capable of identifying factors (lifestyle, health conditions) that can be improved to support the brain health of the person.
 
Protocol to design and conduct new clinical trials, which combine lifestyle improvements with medications supporting brain health. The protocol is a document that describes how a clinical trial will be conducted (the aim(s), methodology, etc.) and ensures the safety of the trial participants, and the integrity of the data collected.
 
Online registry for the population: the registry would provide easy access to reliable information on projects related to dementia prevention, and also give people the possibility to sign-up and express interest in participating in prevention programmes.  
 
Guidelines for clinicians, on how to best inform patients with no memory problems (or mild problems) about the results of medical tests measuring the presence, in the brain, of changes related to Alzheimer´s disease.  

Guidelines for clinicians, on how to better team up with patients with no memory problems (or mild problems) in developing an individualized plan to prevent dementia. This plan should account for the individual´s characteristics, lifestyle, and personal preferences.  

How we work

To reach our objectives, we work together and build on our existing work and research. Three of the largest European studies for the prevention of cognitive deterioration and Alzheimer´s disease are part of EU-FINGERS:

FINGERS: Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability
LipiDiDiet: Impact of Nutritional Lipids on Neuronal and Cognitive Performance in Aging, Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular Dementia
MIND-AD: Multimodal preventive trials for Alzheimer’s Disease: towards multinational strategies

The EU-FINGERS project has received funding from the EU Joint Programme Neurodegenerative Disease Research JPND.

EURO-FINGERS is an EU Joint Programme –
Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) project.

The project is supported through the following funding organisations under the aegis of JPND – www.jpnd.eu: Finland, Academy of Finland; Germany, Federal Ministry of Education and Research; Spain, National Institute of Health Carlos III; Luxemburg, National Research Fund; Hungary, National Research, Development and Innovation Office; The Netherlands, Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development; Sweden, Swedish Research Council.