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The Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Mayo Clinic promotes research and education about healthy brain aging, mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia and other dementia disorders.

WHO guidelines for reducing dementia risk

The World Health Organization (WHO) publication, "Guidelines for Risk Reduction of Cognitive Decline and Dementia," was developed to strengthen, share and disseminate an evidence base to support policy interventions for reducing potentially modifiable risk factors for dementia. This involves providing a database of available evidence on the prevalence of those risk factors and the impact of reducing them; and supporting the formulation and implementation of evidence-based, multisectoral interventions for reducing the risk of dementia.

The risk reduction guidelines for cognitive decline and dementia are aligned with WHO's mandate to provide evidence-based guidance for a public health response to dementia.

Mayo Clinic neurologist Ronald C. Petersen, M.D., contributed to this publication as a part of the WHO Guideline Development Group. Dr. Petersen is the director of Mayo Clinic's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and Mayo Clinic Study of Aging.

Read the new guideline.

A new view of Alzheimer's disease

Mayo Clinic neurologist Ronald C. Petersen, M.D., and his colleague neuroradioloigst Clifford Jack, Jr. M.D., are at the forefront of an international reappraisal of Alzheimer's that's changing how the world thinks about the onset and progression of the disease.

Drs. Jack and Petersen co-authored a study in 2010 that was published in The Lancet Neurology. The study argued this point: Alzheimer's disease first appears as amyloid plaques in the brain while cognition is normal. Only much later does the patient progress to mild cognitive impairment and then dementia. For that reason, the disease should be defined by its underlying biology — the formation of plaques — and not the symptoms of dementia it eventually produces.

In 2018, Dr. Jack and a team of colleagues published a "research framework" with the National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association that detailed how Alzheimer's disease would be diagnosed by its biological markers, not by dementia. By the use of biomarkers, patients no longer have to wait for the clinical symptoms. The disease can be identified in its incipient state, making earlier intervention possible.

Dr. Petersen is the director of Mayo Clinic's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. Dr. Jack is the Alexander Family Professor of Alzheimer's Disease Research.

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