07.02.2013

Finnish university in new project to prevent dementia

EU-funded HATICE-project will develop an internet platform to help elderly people combat the risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia.

The University of Eastern Finland is involved in the European HATICE-project (Healthy Aging Through Internet Counseling in the Elderly) which is developing an interactive internet platform to support elderly people in reducing their risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia. The platform will be supported by specialized nurses, who can be continuously contacted by phone, email, chat or Skype.

HATICE has received a grant of EUR 5.8 million from the EU of which EUR 1 million will be available for the University of Eastern Finland. The other partners in the research project are the Amsterdam Medical Centre (AMC), the Karolinska Institute, INSERM/University of Toulouse, University of Cambridge, Novapten and Vital Health Software.

Multimodal intervention

There are three major dementia prevention studies ongoing among elderly people in Europe. These are FINGER in Finland, preDIVA study in the Netherlands and MAPT in France. In the FINGER study, 1200 subjects with risk factors for memory disease are participating in a two-year multimodal intervention including exercise, nutrition, management of cardiovascular risk factors, and cognitive training in order to prevent cognitive decline.

According to Professor Hilkka Soininen from the University of Eastern Finland, elderly people often have several health problems at the same time, which is known as 'multi-morbidity'. These can range, for example, from dementia to diabetes and the aftermath of a stroke. The most important risk factors for these conditions are well known: sedentary lifestyle, overweight, smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Reducing these risks is the first step towards healthy aging.

To investigate the efficacy of the platform, HATICE is planning a randomized controlled clinical trial among 4600 elderly people. With this trial the researchers hope to find out whether the use of an internet intervention platform can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia, and which aspects of such an intervention are most successful.

Source: University of Eastern Finland