WHY A DEGENERATIVE DEMENTIA RESEARCH CENTER?
The aging of the population has increased the number of cases of primary degenerative dementias, which are characterized by progressive deterioration of cognitive function and loss of autonomy necessary for social life.
The most frequent and well known form is Alzheimer's disease, but there are other forms of dementia, not less important but less frequent, such as dementia of vascular origin, dementia with Lewy bodies, fronto-temporal dementia, Parkinson-dementia complex, corticobasal degeneration, progressive supranuclear palsy, etc.
The clinical heterogeneity of dementia means that care needs differ from patient to patient, and highlights the lack of specific preparation of staff employed in care.
The problem appears in its true dimension when the number of patients (about 500,000 in Italy) and the growth in demand for targeted services are compared with the number of diagnostic and care facilities dedicated to them, and with the fact that each of these facilities operates with protocols and goals that are not entirely comparable.
Moreover, the offer of specific diagnostic services is very modest, especially in the field of genetic characterization and biological markers of disease.
Based on these observations, the Foundation has identified three areas where research activities need to be promoted:
- study of models of care and treatment, in-depth study of the clinical, psychological, and social foundations, their feasibility, as well as their outcomes (effectiveness) and costs (efficiency). Preparation of formal and informal caregivers, consultations and design directions for services as corollaries of the study activity. Study of mental functions in aging.
- Study of anatomical, pathophysiological, and biochemical changes in the brain of degenerative dementia patients; comparative studies with aging in cognitively unimpaired persons.
- study of the genetic bases of the specific pathologies mentioned above.