Ten organizations across the Netherlands are joining forces in this research project to improve the diagnosis of dementia, led by Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC. The research project has received over six million euros from ZonMw within the Dementia Research Program.
With approximately 300,000 patients, dementia is one of the greatest challenges in health care. Dementia can have several causes. Determining which brain disease causes the dementia is complicated. Partly because of this, it often takes years until it is clear what is going on. Sometimes no diagnosis is made at all, or patients only know that dementia is present but not what disease it is due to. "With a proper diagnosis, patients get access to appropriate care and treatment," said Wiesje van der Flier, scientific director of Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC.
For patients and their families, it is important to know which disease is causing the dementia. That way you know better what to expect. And how to deal with it. "People often notice that something is wrong with their loved one, but they don't find out what is wrong. Meanwhile, this does lead to irritation or discomfort. With a diagnosis, people can understand what is wrong with themselves or their loved ones and the best ways to deal with it. A diagnosis can also help with organizing care, such as day treatment," Van der Flier said. In addition, establishing a good diagnosis is the starting point for developing better treatments and medications in the future.
A good diagnosis is Timely (not too early and not too late), Accurate (the diagnosis must be correct) and Personalized (matching the wishes and needs of the patient and family), together this is TAP. 'In improving the diagnosis of Alzheimer's we have come a long way, but with this project we really want to take a step to improve the diagnosis of other forms of dementia as well. We also have a focus on mixed brain damage, or multiple brain diseases at the same time. Because that is very common," said Van der Flier, TAP dementia project leader.
Five research projects
Within TAP-dementia, 10 organizations are working together on five research projects. Throughout the research, diagnostics in the future should meet the wishes and needs of patients and loved ones better. The researchers are evaluating promising tests for various forms of dementia in practice. New tests are also being developed to refine diagnosis.
More information and contact details can be found at TAP-dementia.nl.