Three leading organizations join hands to address global challenges in dementia

To address the growing public health crisis of dementia, three leading organizations announced funding for 23 small-scale pilot projects as part of this year's Pilot Awards for Global Brain Health Leaders.

The Alzheimer's Association, Global Brain Health Institute, and the UK-based Alzheimer's Society have united to address global challenges in dementia, including access to care, stigma, brain health risk factors, and other key issues through a competitive funding program for emerging leaders in brain health and dementia--the prevalence of which is expected to triple worldwide to 152 million by 2050.

Dementia is a global health crisis that continues to grow. The Alzheimer's Association, Global Brain Health Institute and Alzheimer's Society are thrilled to partner to fund these pilot projects, which will investigate innovative approaches to awareness, diagnosis, treatment and care for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias in various corners of the world."

Maria C. Carrillo, PhD, Alzheimer's Association Chief Science Officer

The COVID-19 pandemic--which is straining health systems, increasing social isolation, and disproportionately affecting people living with dementia and their caregivers--is demanding a reimagination of service delivery. The Pilot Awards for Global Brain Health Leaders program provides fertile ground for such innovation.

The 2020 awards--23 in total--will drive pilot projects that address disparities in dementia diagnosis, treatment, and care for vulnerable populations and their families.

Several of this year's projects focus on arts and dementia care, including a music program for older adults, a virtual program that engages participants in fine arts or performance arts, and an interactive radio program that highlights older voices. Art is an entertaining and generally accessible tool that may be an outlet for individuals living with dementia, and has the potential to reduce stress and decrease stigma associated with the illness.

Additionally, many of this year's projects focus on flexible, low cost and scalable ways to deliver services to diverse populations, including in Latin America, a region disproportionately affected by dementia. These include a study of digital technology to support cognitive assessment and dementia diagnosis in Cuba, the establishment of a clinical and research network in Peru, and development of a book to guide communication skills for caregivers in Brazil.

This year's awards span 15 countries across five continents, including Argentina, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Cuba, Denmark, France, Ireland, Israel, Nigeria, Peru, Spain, Turkey, UK, and USA. The 23 awardees will join an overall portfolio of 88 pilots in 28 countries.

The total funding of approximately $575,000 (£440,000, €486,000) includes about $25,000 (£19,100, €21,100) for each individual award to enable the recipients to pilot test a project and then, if successful, seek further resources to scale up their work.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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