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In parallel with robust efforts world-wide to develop effective neuroprotection for established disease, resources are being mobilized to delineate risk factors and implement preventive measures in a concerted effort to forestall the anticipated Alzheimer disease (AD) epidemic. A review of heritable and ‘acquired’ dementia risk factors, many operating at midlife, is presented in a companion paper.
In 2009, an Alzheimer Risk Assessment Clinic (ARAC) was established at the Jewish General Hospital (Montreal) to address the concerns increasingly being voiced by active middle-aged individuals at risk for AD. A positive family history of AD and/or perceived changes in personal cognitive function (predominantly short-term memory) are main reasons for referral. The primary objectives of ARAC are to (i) ascertain, inform and mitigate the risks of developing AD in cognitively-healthy persons aged 40-65 based on best available medical and epidemiological evidence, (ii) conduct scientific research on midlife dementia risk and prevention in this population and (iii) provide instruction in dementia risk assessment and management to health professionals, clinical/research fellows, medical residents and students. ARAC infrastructure, evaluation protocol, risk profile classification scheme, interventions, knowledge dissemination program, case vignettes, and seminal research projects are described.
It is hoped that ARAC and similar initiatives will help prevent or delay dementia by innovating effective interventions based on increasingly nuanced estimation of modifiable AD risk in presymptomatic persons.
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