Alzheimer's Association International Conference

Alzheimer's Association International Conference

July 26, 2016
1 min read

WHO: Prevention tops list of dementia research priorities

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Reducing risk for dementia was among the highest global research priorities, according to findings presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.

“The urgency is clear, yet more governments still need to make funding dementia research a high priority,” Heather M. Snyder, PhD, senior director of medical and scientific operations at the Alzheimer’s Association, said in a press release. “Because resources are limited, even if recently increasing, there is an urgent need to set research priorities to guide policymakers and funders as they work to advance dementia research.”

Heather M. Snyder, PhD

Heather M. Snyder

To identify global dementia research and investment priorities, researchers used an adapted Child Health and Nutrition Initiative method, which consists of scope definition, collection of research topics from a variety of researchers and stakeholders, consolidation of topics, scoring consolidated topics, and computation of scores to determine priorities.

Dementia risk reduction was the most prominent theme and received the highest overall research priority sore.

Six of the top 10 overall research priorities addressed prevention, identification and reduction of dementia risk, and delivery and quality of care for individuals with dementia and caregivers.

Hiral Shah, MD

Hiral Shah

In an extended top 20 priorities list, diagnosis and biomarker research and treatment development accounted for seven of the top priorities.

Basic research in disease mechanisms had the most potential for conceptual breakthrough, according to researchers.

“Our hope is that the research priorities identified by this intensive and systematic international process will inform and motivate policymakers, funders and researchers to reduce the global burden of dementia,” Hiral Shah, MD, of Columbia University Medical Center, said in the release. “Future aims include identifying culture and system-specific research priorities, and identifying gaps and opportunities for increased investment.” – by Amanda Oldt


Shah H, et al. From the WHO research priorities and research portfolio analysis to the identification of research gaps to reduce the global burden of dementia. Presented at: Alzheimer’s Association International Conference; July 24-28, 2016; Toronto.

Disclosure: could not confirm relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.