Q&A on strategies for earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease – MOPEAD

Defining strategies to overcome obstacles to early diagnosis and treatment in Alzheimer’s disease: MOPEAD

Today’s post comes from Mercè Boada, Founder and Medical Director of Fundació ACE, Institut Català de Neurociències Aplicades

What is MOPEAD, who is involved and where is it taking place?

In Alzheimer’s disease (AD), as in other conditions, involving patients is a sure way to improve diagnosis and care. One of the main causes of delayed AD diagnosis is the lack of awareness, in the general population, of cognitive decline. We need to clarify the meaning of cognitive decline and raise awareness of the signs to look out for, so that we can start to diagnose AD earlier.

MOPEAD (Models Of Patient Engagement for Alzheimer’s Disease) was created by Fundació ACE and is supported by IMI (Innovative Medicine Initiative) and EFPIA. The project aims to identify efficient approaches for timely diagnosis of people with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, by comparing different models of patient engagement.

The partners conducting and evaluating patient engagement activities include Fundació ACE (Project Coordinator), Karolinska Institutet,  VUMC Amsterdam, Köhln University, University Medical Centre Ljubljana (KCLJ),GMV Soluciones Globales Internet SAU, Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR). ASDM Consulting, European Institute of Women’s Health, Spomincica Alzheimer Slovenia and Alzheimer Europe will focus on communication, dissemination of the results and ethical issues. Other partners involved in the project are Kite Innovation (Project Manager), Eli Lilly and Company and Astra Zeneca.

Why is early diagnosis in Alzheimer's disease so important?

Although there is not a cure for AD, early diagnosis has many important benefits. First of all, it helps patients and families settle any doubt about the cause of the cognitive disorder. It helps avoid the uncertainty and associated burden of living with someone with dementia without an explanation for the behavioural disorder. It also helps end the pilgrimage of going from doctor to doctor, seeking diagnosis.

Importantly, the sooner patients are informed, the more time they have to make decisions about their future, while they are still in a position to do so. These decisions will impact not only their health but also the economic and legal issues that affect the families as the disease progresses. These are truly complex situations that become a huge source of problems if not dealt with in time.

Finally, when patients are diagnosed in the first stages of the disease, we can offer care advice that can help maintain cognitive function for a time, as well as recommendations for participation in medical and social research but also in clinical trials that will contribute to finding new treatments.

What are you hoping MOPEAD will achieve in the long-term?

My hopes for the success of MOPEAD are two-fold. First, I hope we raise awareness around the meaning of cognitive decline. Once this has been achieved, we will be in a position to provide early diagnosis as well as strategies to help people with AD to live with the condition. Secondly, I hope that MOPEAD in the long-run will provide support to health systems to implement new measures in favour of the population affected by AD.

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