Perceived as an inevitable consequence of advancing age, this neurodegenerative disease which will affect more than 2.2 million French people in 20502 due to the expected aging of the population, can no longer be associated with a ” fatality »: It would indeed seem that it can be preventable in 40% of cases. And there are effective preventive actions exist to reduce risk factors.
« Delay the onset of cognitive disorders, gain years of cognitive health and reduce its prevalence: preventing Alzheimer’s disease has meaning and usefulness. This is the message that we collectively want to convey! »Says Hélène Jacquemont, president of the Medéric Alzheimer Foundation.
« One figure alone sums up the situation: today, more than a third of sick people still arrive too late for a memory consultation for solutions to reduce the effects of the disease to be offered to them. »Adds Professor Pierre Krolak-Salmon, neurologist and geriatrician, medical director of the Institute for Aging at the Hospices Civils de Lyon
On the research side, initiatives deserve to be supported and deployed on a larger scale. Models developed abroad could be adapted in France. This is the case of FINGER4, a research program carried out in Finland.
Combining a healthy diet, regular and adapted physical activity, regular cognitive training, prevention of vascular risk, it was designed for people at high risk of developing the disease. After two years of interventions and follow-up, their cognitive functions were improved (executive function and speed of information processing).
On the French side, the AVEC grid (Audition-Vision-Equilibre-Cognition) designed by the French Sensori-Cognitive Reflection Society (Sofresc) is intended for the identification of sensory disorders in EHPAD but also usable by families. Ultimately, it could be deployed in a more “universal” approach by integrating people from 40 or 50 years old.
On the field side, measures developed for several years in the regions are being honored, like the Agirc-Arrco Well Aging prevention centers in Lyon or the memory workshops of the Mutualité Française in PACA.
The former offer broad-spectrum assessments covering a set of indicators, some of which relate to Alzheimer’s disease. The whole stake now aims to rejuvenate the public welcomed to initiate prevention as early as possible (from 45 years old) and to strengthen access through digitization (teleconsultation). Support for caregivers is also at the heart of the areas for improvement.
« Our health system is not adapted to the aging of the population. The prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, like the prevention of addiction, is essential, at the risk of failure! ICOPE can play a key role, both in prevention and in reducing the decline once the disease has set in. »Specifies Prof. Bruno Vellas, head of the geriatrics department of the Toulouse University Hospital, coordinator of the Gérontopôle
« Solutions exist to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. It is now a question of making them known and encouraging the French to invest personally in improving their chances of aging in good cognitive health. »Concludes Christine Tabuenca, Executive Director of the Médéric Alzheimer Foundation.