Nav: Home

New guidelines could help improve research into vascular cognitive impairment

January 16, 2017

New guidelines have been developed that it is hoped will help to progress research into vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) following a study led by academics at the University of Bristol that brought together the views of over 150 researchers in 27 countries.

VCI refers to a decline in mental abilities, such as memory, thinking and planning, caused by problems with the blood supply to the brain. Vascular dementia, which is perhaps a more familiar term to most people, is recognised as a severe form of VCI. VCI is the second most common cause of dementia and gradual memory loss after Alzheimer's disease. Like Alzheimer's disease it does not have a cure and together both conditions contribute to the largest cause of death in England and Wales according to recent reports.

The Bristol team, led by Pat Kehoe, Gestetner Professor of Translational Dementia Research and Joint Head of the Dementia Research Group in the School of Clinical Sciences, invited researchers from around the world to participate in a project called the Vascular Impairment of Cognition Classification Consensus Study (VICCCS), which is funded by the Alzheimer's Society.

The international consortium has published their findings on what was agreed as a revised conceptual model of VCI and what should be considered to be its various subtypes. This new concept has built upon some key elements from sets of criteria that have been previously proposed but adopted to varying degrees. This lack of widespread adoption of any single criteria before now has proved to be a major stumbling block towards any progress in VCI research.

Professor Pat Kehoe, Chief Investigator for the study, said: "It may seem somewhat simplistic to some people that this study has been to get people to agree on how to view and name conditions that affects as many as 100,000 people in the UK alone.

"However, more than 20 years of research has been significantly hampered because numerous studies looked at this complicated group of related conditions in a large number of ways and under numerous different names. This has made the interpretation of any findings with other studies extremely difficult. For the field to move forward, and for us to successfully test potential therapies, there is a need for much greater clarity so that studies can be designed appropriately and meet with the latest requirements from regulatory bodies."

The project made use of an online consensus-building technique that uses recurring surveys, known as the Delphi method. The study was conducted in two parts and identified and addressed issues from the last two decades that have obstructed the progression of VCI research, which lags noticeably behind that of Alzheimer's disease.

Firstly, the surveys addressed what should be the guiding principles in defining a modern and workable concept of VCI and secondly, how the diagnosis of these conditions can be made in a more standardised way across the world. These surveys addressed issues and came up with consensus agreements in a step-by-step repetitive method that involved six phases of surveys over approximately two years.

Dr Olivia Skrobot, Research Associate in the School of Clinical Sciences, who coordinated the study, added: "This study was designed as a means to overcome the historical barriers to advance this area of research. The involvement of so many international researchers will, we hope, promote a new level of collaboration and togetherness and encourage significant progress for VCI research."

Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at Alzheimer's Society said: "Alzheimer's Society is thrilled to have funded this research as these guidelines will provide essential help to streamline research into vascular dementia. Historically, research in this area has lagged behind researchers' knowledge of Alzheimer's disease, despite vascular dementia being the second most common cause of the condition."

"Research relies on collaboration between experts in order to pool knowledge to further our understanding of the causes of health conditions and how to treat them. This research will allow us to work from the same understanding and criteria which will significantly speed up research in this vital area. As dementia is now the biggest killer in the UK, we need to bring researchers closer together to bring much-needed help to people with this condition as quickly as possible."

The paper, published in Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association, describes the results of the first part of VICCCS, and the researchers hope the revised model of VCI will be widely adopted by the field. The team is currently preparing the second part of their findings from the study for publication, where challenges around diagnostic approaches and lack of standardisation have been addressed.

The aim of this part of the study is to provide guidelines to enable clearer diagnosis and also to simplify the eligibility for people to take part in specific research studies on VCI that have been relatively less common than other types of dementia and cognitive impairment.
-end-
Paper: 'The Vascular Impairment of Cognition Classification Consensus Study (VICCCS)' by Olivia A Skrobot et al in Alzheimer's & Dementia.

University of Bristol

Related Dementia Articles:

Digital solutions for dementia care
Telehealth delivery of dementia care in the home can be as effective as face-to-face home visit services if carers and recipients take advantage of the technologies available, Australian researchers say.
Despite a marked reduction in the prevalence of dementia, the number of people with dementia is set to double by 2050 according to new Alzheimer Europe report
Today, at a European Parliament lunch debate, Alzheimer Europe launched a new report presenting the findings of its collaborative analysis of recent prevalence studies and setting out updated prevalence rates for dementia in Europe.
Inflammatory marker linked to dementia
Higher levels of an inflammatory marker, sCD14, were associated with brain atrophy, cognitive decline and dementia in two large heart studies.
How likely do you think you are to develop dementia?
A poll suggests almost half of adults ages 50 to 64 believe they're likely to develop dementia.
Latest issue of Alzheimer's & Dementia
Predicting heart disease might also be a warning sign for Alzheimer's; A new way to think about the environment and Alzheimer's research; Most dementia patients don't receive care from physicians who specialize in brain health.
What multilingual nuns can tell us about dementia
A strong ability in languages may help reduce the risk of developing dementia, says a new University of Waterloo study.
Brain changes may help track dementia, even before diagnosis
Even before a dementia diagnosis, people with mild cognitive impairment may have different changes in the brain depending on what type of dementia they have, according to a study published in the September 11, 2019, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Could marriage stave off dementia?
Dementia and marital status could be linked, according to a new Michigan State University study that found married people are less likely to experience dementia as they age.
Migraine diagnoses positively associated with all-cause dementia
Several studies have recently focused on the association between migraine headaches and other headaches and dementia and found a positive migraine-dementia relationship.
Apathy: The forgotten symptom of dementia
Apathy is the most common neuropsychiatric symptom of dementia, with a bigger impact on function than memory loss -- yet it is under-researched and often forgotten in care.
More Dementia News and Dementia Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.