Bonn, July 1, 2020. With the National Dementia Strategy passed today, the German government with a broad alliance of partners is paving the way to make Germany more dementia-friendly in the future in cooperation. Together with the Deutsche Alzheimer Gesellschaft (German Alzheimer Society), the federal states and local authorities, health care and nursing associations, social insurance bodies, civil society and other scientific institutions, the DZNE is part of this alliance.
Currently there are about 1.6 million people with dementia in Germany. The associated costs are enormous: According to calculations by the DZNE, the overall societal costs in 2016 amounted to approximately 73 billion euros; this figure is projected to roughly double over the next 20 years. A cure is not yet in sight because the causes and development of this extremely complex pathology - which includes various other diseases in addition to Morbus Alzheimer - are still not sufficiently understood.
"I am very happy that DZNE scientists have contributed with their knowledge and expertise to the formulation of the National Dementia Strategy," says Prof. Pierluigi Nicotera, Scientific Director and Chairman of the DZNE. "Of course we want to support the implementation of the strategic goals with our research as best we can and contribute to the development of therapies, prevention strategies and better care concepts", Nicotera continues.
Translational research from the molecule to the clinical cohort
The special "translational approach" of the DZNE enables successes within one single research area to be rapidly transferred into other areas. For example, findings on molecular mechanisms in nerve cells can be applied more quickly in the development of new pharmaceutical agents, for which the DZNE's clinical research platform is able to assemble suitable test groups at an early stage. Also, the best possible recruitment, selection and treatment of people whose disease progression is documented in studies at the DZNE is part of the National Dementia Strategy. However, the focus is not only on those who already have dementia: The work of the DZNE also includes long-term studies with people who do in fact not suffer from dementia, in order to identify risk factors and prevention options for dementia.
Better quality of life for people with dementia
People who are already suffering from dementia need care that enables them to enjoy a high quality of life for as long as possible, while at the same time taking into account the family, nursing and medical environment and relieving those as much as possible. In the field of health care research, the DZNE contributes evidence-based concepts for individual diagnosis, therapy, nursing intervention and care of people with dementia as part of the National Dementia Strategy and reviews these concepts in terms of their effectiveness and health economical efficiency. The results are fed into the legislative process as policy recommendations. One of many examples for the relief of relatives AND cost bearers in the health care system is the so-called "Dementia Care Management" - an outpatient care concept developed and already successfully tested at the DZNE location Rostock/Greifswald. However, Dementia Care Managers cannot yet be deployed nationwide in Germany because the legal basis ("SGB XI") is not yet in place. The DZNE, together with other players such as the KBV and the GKV-SV, is examining whether and under what conditions these basic principles can be created.
Long term planning
The National Dementia Strategy is a long-term strategy. It thus provides the opportunity to continuously review the goals, to take up current developments and to set new priorities. The aim is to evaluate the outcome after 2026 and to continue developing the National Dementia Strategy.
On the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)
The DZNE investigates all aspects of neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) in order to develop novel approaches of prevention, treatment, and health care. The DZNE is comprised of ten sites across Germany and cooperates closely with universities, university hospitals, and other institutions on a national and international level. The DZNE is a member of the Helmholtz Association.