Project Summary

Context

The DementiA Research Enabled by IT (VPH‑DARE@IT) project responds to the European Parliament’s 2011 resolution for a European Initiative on Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, and the EU Year of the Brain 2014 Initiative.

The number of individuals suffering from dementia today is roughly 36 million and, due to ageing societies, will increase to 115 million by 2050.

The annual costs are estimated to be €55B in Europe and €450B worldwide (1% of the World Gross Domestic Product).

In 2012, the WHO declared dementia a global health priority, highlighting the urgent need for improvements in this area.

VPH-DARE@IT will deliver the first patient-specific predictive models for early differential diagnosis of dementias and their evolution.

This goal will be achieved through the following objectives:

  • Deliver a systematic, multi-factorial and multi-scale modelling approach to understanding dementia
  • Explore the lifestyle and environmental factors that predispose individuals to the development of dementia
  • Deliver more objective and accurate differential diagnoses than those currently available in Europe
  • Shorten the current average time-lapse between the onset of cognitive and memory deficits and its specific clinical diagnosis

 

VPH-DARE@IT concept in a nutshell: combining the appropriate modelling paradigm
and accounting for environmental and lifestyle factors at each level.

 

How big is the problem?

  • Dementia is not a normal part of ageing

  • 35.6 million people were estimated to be living with dementia in 2010.

  • There are 7.7 million new cases of dementia each year: there is a new case of dementia somewhere in the world every four seconds.

  • The huge cost of the disease will challenge health systems to deal with the predicted future increase of prevalence.

  • The costs are estimated at €451 billion per year at present and are set to increase even more quickly than the prevalence.

  • People live for many years after the onset of symptoms of dementia. With appropriate support, many can and should be enabled to continue to engage and contribute within society and have a good quality of life.

  • Whereas in the United States, for instance, between 2000 and 2008, the proportion of deaths due to heart disease, stroke and prostate cancer decreased by 13%, 20%, and 8%, respectively, the proportion due to Alzheimer's disease increased by 66%.

  • Cost of illness of dementia in European countries (including Turkey)in 2008: €177.2 billion.

  • Annual cost per demented person in Europe (including Turkey) in 2008: €17,526