Dementia and cognitive disorders
This sub-speciality concerns the diagnosis and management of cognitive disorders and dementia with a special emphasis on neurodegenerative diseases. Cognitive disorders may impair various cognitive domains, including memory, perception, language, social cognition, attention, and executive functions. At the stage of dementia, cognitive impairment interferes with the normal activities of daily living. The diagnosis of cognitive disorders relies on neurological examination, neuropsychological testing, structural (MRI) and functional (PET) brain imaging, amyloid and tau positron emission tomography (PET), and fluid biomarkers. Family history collection and genetic screening are essential for the diagnosis of hereditary forms of dementia. Dementia research is investigating new blood and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers, new radiotracers for PET, effective tools to detect early cognitive decline, genetic and environmental risk factors, preventive strategies, and targeted molecular therapies.
The dementia and cognitive disorders scientific panel (SP) is responsible for promoting scientific and educational activities of the European Academy of Neurology related to the topic of dementias. The SP is active in the development of guidelines that provide a unified European framework for the diagnosis and management of neurocognitive disorders and related issues. The members of the SP collaborate to produce scientific contributions on international peer-reviewed journals. Among the ongoing collaborative efforts of the SP there are a global consensus initiative for Alzheimer’s disease, a European study on the biomarker-based diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), an ongoing review on dementia and COVID-19, and the preparation of guidelines on physical activities and exercise in dementia with the European Geriatric Medicine Society (EUGMS). The SP has contributed to the Neurology Updates available on the EAN website, and to the Scales and Scores collection. This year, the SP have organised two teaching courses, one symposium, and one focused workshop on the topic of dementia and neurocognitive disorders, contributed to a EAN Regional Teaching Course (Moscow, Russia) as well a joint symposium with the European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM) at the 2021 EANM Annual Congress. Junior Residents and Research Fellows Section (RRFS) members are actively involved in the scientific activities of the Panel. The SP management group organizes meetings approximately five times a year to update on ongoing projects and discuss new proposals.