Skip to main content
Published: 2020-07-06 09:45 | Updated: 2020-07-06 09:46

Professor Kivipelto is leading the first global initiative for prevention of dementia and Alzheimer's disease

World-Wide FINGERS (WW-FINGERS) is the first global network of clinical trials for risk reduction and prevention of dementia and Alzheimer's disease through multidomain interventions. The network convenes research teams from over 30 countries, and is led by Professor Miia Kivipelto from the Center for Alzheimer Research, Karolinska Institutet. The main scope, scientific strategy and activities of the WW-FINGERS network have been published today (July 6, 2020) in Alzheimer's & Dementia.

Miia Kivipelto Professor Photo: Erik Cronberg

WW-FINGERS builds upon the successful experience of FINGER: the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (led by Prof. Kivipelto). This pioneering randomized clinical trial (RCT) demonstrated that a 2-year multidomain lifestyle intervention consisting of nutritional guidance, exercise, cognitive training, and control of vascular risk factors benefitted cognition in seniors at increased risk of dementia (Lancet 2015). In order to be successfully applicable on a larger scale, the FINGER model needs to be further tested, adapted and optimized in diverse geographical and cultural settings. Towards this aim, Prof. Kivipelto launched in 2017 the WW-FINGERS network (https://www.alz.org/wwfingers), which has been growing exponentially and currently includes over 30 countries across all continents. The network's research teams are working together to harmonize the methodology of FINGER-like intervention trials done in several countries. This will ensure the possibility to synergize data and generate evidence for effective and sustainable interventions for reducing risk or delay the onset of cognitive decline and dementia in seniors.

“Dementia has been declared a public health priority by the World Health Organization (WHO)” says Professor Miia Kivipelto, “and given that a cure for this disorder is not yet available, risk reduction and prevention are pivotal in halting the rapid worldwide increase of cases. The results from the FINGER trial highlighted the value of addressing multiple dementia risk factors as a strategy to protect brain health and promote overall health and functioning. Coordinated and harmonized efforts are crucial to identify effective preventive strategies that are sustainable on a global scale. WW-FINGERS is a unique network that will facilitate harmonization and sharing of data from several countries, creating a unique opportunity for rapid knowledge generation, dissemination and implementation”.

Prof. Kivipelto also adds “We have key allies in this global project, including the WHO, Alzheimer’s  Association (AA) in the USA, Alzheimerfonden in Sweden, the FINGERS Brain Health Institute (FBHI) and the Alzheimer’s Disease Data Enablement Fund. Aims and activities of WW-FINGERS are aligned with the WHO “Global action plan on the public health response to dementia”, and we have been working closely with the WHO to compile the first guidelines for dementia risk reduction, which were first released in 2019 and are now being updated. AA is supporting the WW-FINGERS network activities, including the organization of the yearly meeting of the network's research teams. We are very delighted that the Alzheimer’s Disease Data Enablement Fund, which is supported by a coalition of funders including Gates Ventures, is providing funding and expertise for the development of a platform enabling data harmonization and sharing across the network”.

The team led by Prof Kivipelto runs the “Scientific Helpdesk” of WW-FINGERS, to support scientific aspects of the development and implementation of national studies within the network. Assistant Professor Francesca Mangialasche, Scientific Coordinator of WW-FINGERS, says “The role of the WW-FINGERS network is especially important in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic is having negative effects on both lifestyle and medical management of chronic disorders (e.g., hypertension, diabetes), because of changes in the healthcare system functioning, seniors being reluctant to seek care due to infection risk, and lifestyles changes due to the outbreak control procedures, such as limited physical activity due home isolation. In this landscape, WW-FINGERS is a very timely project which can inform about sustainable healthy lifestyles and management of risk factors in seniors, with benefits beyond dementia prevention.”

The article

Kivipelto M, Mangialasche F, Snyder HM, et al. World-Wide FINGERS Network: A global approach to risk reduction and prevention of dementia. Alzheimer’s Dement. 2020;1–16. https://doi.org/10.1002/alz.12123

Contacts

Miia Kivipelto, MD, PhD, Professor, WW-FINGERS founder and scientific leader
Address: Division of Clinical Geriatrics, Center for Alzheimer Research, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet
Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset, Karolinska Vägen 37 A, QA32,171 64 Solna, Sweden
Email: miia.kivipelto@ki.se            
Phone: +46 (0)73 99 409 22

Francesca Mangialasche, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, WW-FINGERS scientific coordinator
Address: Division of Clinical Geriatrics, Center for Alzheimer Research, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet
Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset, Karolinska Vägen 37 A, QA32, 171 64 Solna, Sweden
Email: francesca.mangialasche@ki.se           
Phone: +46 (0)70 301 94 66

Kristal Morales Pérez, MSc, WW-FINGERS Project Manager
Address: Division of Clinical Geriatrics, Center for Alzheimer Research, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet
Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset, Karolinska Vägen 37 A, QA32, 171 64 Solna, Sweden
Email: kristal.morales.perez@ki.se
Phone +46 (0)79 333 93 98