Between 17th and 19th October I attended the 32nd Alzheimer Europe Conference in Bucharest, Romania on behalf of the Medical University of Lodz as a part of CoSoPhyFX consortium.
The conference focused on a psychosocial and idiographic approach to the management of dementia. It was seen in the motto, which was “Bulding bridges” and in the programme. The conference was attended by specialists in the field (physicians, psychologists, scientists), but also by the people with dementia and their caregivers. The latter were also keynote speakers, including the opening ceremony speech by Chris Roberts, a Chairperson of the European Working Group of People with Dementia, who was diagnosed with mixed Alzheimer and vascular dementia. Meetings with people with dementia and their caregivers were held throughout the conference.
Much less emphasis was given on the clinical studies and psychoparhacotherapeutics, which was probably due to lack of significant progress in the field, but also underlines the need of an individual (idiographic) approach to each case of dementia and the social dimension of the phenomenon. I presented the consortium’s work on the SenopiMed VR product in the form of a quick oral presentation entitled “Benefits of a Virtual Reality Based Cognitive Intervention for Attention and Working Memory for healthy older adults”. The presentation contained mainly the information on study rationale, design and the recruitment progress. Given the current insufficiency of data to provide sensible and statistically significant results, I commented only on a general improvement of primary endpoints (general neurocognition score, working memory and attention) in both experimental and control group. Also, I included some reflections regarding the reception of the method by the participants. The presentation drew some interest and it also fit to the general agenda of the conference, but its topic was also relatively unique.
The quick oral presentations were the most intensive and novelty-packed sessions. It was the best option to present some groundbreaking methods and data. A large number of the presentations considered the use of digital-based intervention, but VR was only mentioned in two, including ours, the other one was entitled “Virtual Cognition Stimulation Therapy (vCST) for dementia. The development, feasibility and initial outcomes of a global framework”, but it was not presented. Also, there were few mentions of the utilization of game-based interventions, but they focused on the emotional and social aspect rather then cognition itself, e.g. “Designing an emotional game between older adults with MCI and their grandchildren: Grandpa and Grandma let’s play!”
The treatment options for dementia remain limited. Thus, its prophylaxis in healthy older adults seems to be particularly in place. There was a focus on the use of music and its effectiveness in improvement of cognitive functioning and quality of life of people with dementia and mild cognitive impairment. Given the music is an important component of SenopiMed.
Medical University of Lodz