Today’s post is from Laura Campo, International Advocacy and Professional Relations at Lilly.
Only a few weeks ago, the Danish government renewed its commitment to support people living with dementia and their families, launching the National Dementia Action Plan 2025. So it’s fitting that this week the European Alzheimer’s community finds itself in Copenhagen, at the 26th Alzheimer Europe Conference (AEC).
I always find regional conferences such as AEC a great source of inspiration, as they provide the opportunity to learn from those touched by the disease, and are a great place to share challenges and success stories. This year’s conference theme lends itself well to such an exchange of best-practices: “Excellence in dementia research and care.”
Today, there is no way to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s disease. Can we still point to examples of “excellence”, even when it can sometimes feel like the global Alzheimer’s community struggles to make headway? I say, yes – absolutely. Each year we see greater political resolve, growing focus on research efforts across the globe, and greater energy to reduce stigma and better meet the needs of people living with dementia.
Increasingly, dementia is an archetype of European collaboration. A great example is Models of Patient Engagement for Alzheimer’s Disease (MOPEAD), a public-private partnership under the umbrella of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI2), which sees joint action from researchers across countries and across sectors for earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. This in turn can contribute to better access to available treatments and increased enrolment in clinical trials. Lilly is pleased to be holding a workshop on MOPEAD during AEC.
There is also teamwork right at the top, at the European Council of Health Ministries. In November, the Slovakian Presidency hosts a conference: Alzheimer's disease - the epidemic of the third millennium. Are we ready to face it?
This is encouraging, but there is a lot left to do. Around half of EU countries have a national dementia plan; we need full European coverage. And then comes the hardest part: full implementation of national plans, so that we may improve diagnosis, treatment and dementia care.
Anyone who has been personally affected by Alzheimer’s knows there is so much at stake to beat this disease. That’s why striving for excellence is the only option.