prof. dr. Magda Tsolaki, MD, PhD
Dr. Magda Tsolaki je profesorica nevrologije in nevropsihiatrinja. Zaposlena je na 3. Oddelku za nevrologijo na Aristotelovi univerzi v Solunu, Grčija.
Ustanovila je Greek Alzheimer Association in Greek Federation of Alzheimer’s Disease, kjer je tudi predsednica. Je direktorica centra za demenco v Solunu.
Je avtorica in soavtorica 37 knjig in več kot 400 prispevkov v grških in mednarodnih strokovnih revijah. Na domačih in mednarodnih konferencah je sodelovala z več kot 600 prispevki. Organizirala je 27 nacionalnih in 5 mednarodnih konferenc o Alzheimerjevi bolezni.
Prejela je več kot 30 nagrad za svoje prispevke s področij nevrologije, nevropsihiatrije in raziskovanja Alzheimerjeve bolezni.
Non-pharmacological interventions for Alzheimer’s Disease using new technologies – What are the current obstacles?
Neurodegenerative dementias are chronic, progressive, devastating disorders which in early stages are characterized by cognitive problems. In addition dementia influences activities of daily living, behavior, causing behavioral and psychological problems, also known as BPSD (Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms in Dementia) and great levels of anxiety, burden and depression of caregivers. The most frequent dementia is Alzheimer’s disease (AD). There are different stages of AD: Asymptomatic, Mild Cognitive Impairment, early AD, moderate AD and severe AD. There are only symptomatic medications for Alzheimer’s disease until today. Recently information & communication technology (ICT) has played a crucial role in supporting patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and caregivers in Greece. A large number of research projects have validated novel ICT solutions.
Mild Cognitive Impairment and non-pharmacological interventions: There are no medication for MCI or asymptomatic AD. There are data in many studies confirming the effectiveness of cognitive training in MCI patients . Cognitive training is the most appropriate method to practice and enhance specific cognitive abilities, such as language, memory, attention. Some of them , have shown that cognitive training can also improve the activities of daily living. Computerized cognitive exercises have been used to enhance cognitive functioning. A wide range of exercises from language and multi-domain exercises to exercises in virtual environments have been implemented. At the same time physical exercises have been administered through ICT in an effort to improve strength and balance.
Mild dementia: . Various smart home systems and wearables have been tested in an effort to support autonomous living of patients and provide useful data to specialists and caregivers. Robotics applications, ranging from tangible robotic interfaces for cognitive training to robotic assistants and software solutions, have also been trialed. ICT has also been used in diagnosis. Apart from traditional computerized tests, novel augmented reality neuromotor markers have been assessed and virtual reality (VR) applications have been used, for the first time, to reliably detect MCI.
Caregiver support has been implemented through online portals and videoconferencing. In an effort to integrate and better use available ICT solutions various platforms have been used for collecting, analyzing and presenting relevant data. Behavior problems in dementia and non-pharmacological interventions: Sensory Stimulation interventions such as Music therapy, Massage therapy, Multi-Sensory environment/ Snoezelen, Acupuncture, Bright Light Therapy and Aromatherapy have been used for different behavioral problems. Caregivers and non-pharmacological interventions: There is a strong need for effective and cheap caregiver interventions in order to efficiently support the informal dementia caregivers. So far, the psychological interventions seem to have a positive impact on the self-esteem of the dementia caregivers depression and anxiety . On line and onsite interventions have the same significant results.
1. There are not well organized health nets for patients with dementia. A well structured net is consisted of ICT system with a technician-coordinator, general practitioners, specialists, pharmacist, community nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, physiotherapist, dietitians, day centers, nursing homes.
2.Even using ICT services, which are cheaper, we’ll meet the problem that many elderly have no idea of ICT solutions. Despite the abundance of relevant research projects and their results, wider implementation of ICT solutions is still lacking. Organizations such as the Panhellenic Federation of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders are taking steps to ensure wider ICT implementation and dissemination of research results.
3. It is difficult to have money from EE to organize at least in some countries first and then to organize also in other countries
4. We need funding.