Consensus statement from British experts on optimising services in Alzheimer’s disease care and treatment

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A consensus statement published in Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy today outlines current expert views on Alzheimer’s disease care and treatment options. The authors recognise that as our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease improves, services facilitating progress achieved in research necessarily need to accommodate the new approaches relying on innovating current care pathways.

The consensus statement, led by Prof Craig Ritchie, Dr Tom Russ (from the Centre for Dementia Prevention) and Prof Alistair Burns (Division of Neuroscience & Experimental Psychology, University of Manchester), highlights that as new disease-modifying drugs in Alzheimer’s disease are likely to emerge over the next few years, it is crucial to acknowledge the important distinction between Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s dementia. We know that Alzheimer’s disease starts developing decades before dementia symptoms appear, providing an opportunity for an early identification of an at-risk population in order to intervene in the disease progression at a stage where intervention is likely to prove the most effective – both in clinical outcomes and economic cost-effectiveness.

The authors state that the use of biomarkers will be key in identifying an at-risk population accurately and propose solutions of selecting individuals that would most likely benefit from biomarker assessments such as measuring amyloid-beta levels. The statement proposes the resources necessary for an optimal care pathway as well as the necessary education and training for primary and secondary care. The consensus concludes that an improved understanding of Alzheimer’s disease presents an ideal opportunity for linking research developments with service improvements.

RITCHIE, C. W., RUSS, T. C., BANERJEE, S., BARBER, B., BOADEN, A., FOX, N. C., HOLMES, C., ISAACS, J. D., LEROI, I., LOVESTONE, S., NORTON, M., O’BRIEN, J., PEARSON, J., PERRY, R., PICKETT, J., WALDMAN, A. D., WONG, W. L., ROSSOR, M. N. & BURNS, A. 2017. The Edinburgh Consensus: preparing for the advent of disease-modifying therapies for Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy, 9, 85.