Expected Results & Impact

VPH-DARE@IT’s aim is to enable more objective, earlier, predictive and individualised diagnoses and prognoses of dementias to cope with the challenge of an ageing European society.

This aim includes the following results:

  • Novel biomedical dementia biomarkers 
  • Personalised, multi-factorial brain models, taking into account genetics, metabolism, biophysics, physiology and environmental influences
  • Advanced brain image analysis tools
  • An integrative and personalised modelling platform to support clinical research in dementia
  • A clinical platform for personalised diagnosis of dementia and assessment of treatment efficacy
  • A framework for sharing & combining data from large databases

The impacts of VPH-DARE@IT listed below are expected to range across the scientific, clinical and industrial communities across Europe and abroad, to improve health care of dementia patients:

  • Provide earlier personalised prognoses and diagnoses and treatment onset, meaning reduced suffering for the individual and their relatives.
  • Integrate lifestyle and other environmental factors and data with clinical, biological, and physiological factors and determine their impact on disease progression and prevention.
  • Ensure greater equality between citizens through systematic and objective diagnoses. Quality of healthcare currently depends on where someone is living and the capacities of their local hospital.
  • Estimate healthcare cost reduction based on published models of state-of-the-art treatment action. Real cost reduction will require, in addition to earlier diagnosis, an estimate of the delay in the progress of dementia achievable with future treatments.
  • Foster industrial progress, resulting from the availability of the tools, and the expertise to apply them in the context of clinical applications. For example, the pharmaceutical industry will be able to develop new products as a result of a more accurate understanding of interventions. Picture archiving and communication, radiology, electronic health records, and general clinical information, as well as decision support systems (PACS, RIS, EHR, etc.) are also likely to benefit from these products and impact on European eHealth industry leadership.
  • Enable biomedical researchers to investigate the influence of environmental factors on dementias through specialised modelling software frameworks, some of which will be made available to the general community as Open Source platforms.

What will early diagnosis of dementia look like by 2020?

A patient enters the clinic. Mrs Aino is 55 years old, diabetic, hypertensive, obese and a smoker.

The neurologist assesses the risk of this person developing dementia, using as a knowledge base, a population cohort containing over 10,000 subjects.

The neurologist has access to the VPH-DARE@IT master tool that enables computation of a number of biomarkers and generates a vector of these parameters to calculate Mrs Aino’s individual risk of developing dementia.

The result of the analysis is a computation of an integrative and objective score, DSI, and a pictorial statistical representation, DSF, which provides Mrs Aino’s risk of developing each of the different forms of dementia within the next 3 years.