Alzheimer’s disease: everyone's responsability

Artemisa, Cuba - The  Cognitive Disorders Department, of the Iván Portuondo General Teaching Hospital in San Antonio de los Baños, Artemisa province, constitutes a National Reference Center for Alzheimer's treatment.

Since 2017, the 1st National Clinical Trial has been applied in this center for the evaluation of the efficacy and safety of nasal administration of the NeuroEPO medication, in patients with mild / moderate Alzheimer's disease that is already in the 2nd and 3rd phase .

The  Cognitive Disorders Department and the Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery are the only centers in Cuba where the clinical trial is applied. Dr. MS.c Saily Sosa Pérez is the researcher responsible for the Clinical Trial and head of the Provincial Service. Along with her an integral team of specialists in Neurology, Biochemistry, Geriatrics, Neuroimaging, Neuropsychology, Endocrinology, Immunology, and Nuclear Medicine; as well as nurses, general doctors, pharmacists and civil workers, who evaluate and provide follow-up to each patient.

Dr. Sosa Pérez insisted on the proportional increase in the number of people with neurodegenerative diseases, both in Cuba and worldwide, so Alzheimer's disease -the most frequent cause of dementia and known as the epidemic of the 21st century- is a great threat to the health of the elderly. The confrontation with the disease is a great challenge for society, neuroscience and humanity, therefore it has to be energetic and global. Dementia, and in particular Alzheimer's, is not a problem for the clinician, psychiatrist, neurologist or geriatrician; It's everyone's responsability, she insisted.

The work of the Provincial Service of Comprehensive Community Health Care for Memory Disorders (SPAICTM) of the Iván Portuondo Hospital in San Antonio de los Baños, together with the Center of Neurosciences of Cuba, allowed to attend and evaluate from the clinical point of view , neuropsychological, genetic, neuroimaging and laboratory, 900 people from the province of Artemisa, with 35 years or more.

From August 13, 2019, the inclusion in the clinical trial was closed, with a total of 174 patients, of which 150 belong to the SPAICTM, in which 67 patients have already completed a year of treatment and 83 patients are currently receiving treatment, and in August 2020 they finish it at the end of the year.

These patients were treated due to objective and / or subjective complaints of memory; 288 of them have normal cognition or slight memory disorder; 270 show mild cognitive impairment and 342 suffer from Alzheimer's disease, where the senile or late form predominates, representing 95 percent of the cases.

About this medicine, Dr. Saily Sosa said that it is a neuroprotector developed by the Molecular Immunology Center. With this treatment, it is intended to delay the neurodegenerative process, the progression of cognitive manifestations and thus improve the quality of life of the patient and his family, which is the main objective. The clinical trial that is applied in the province is excellently conducted and also monitored by the National Center for Clinical Trials, said the doctor.

In particular, I consider that clinical trials in Alzheimer's disease constitute the only hope for finding the medication that will cure the disease definitively, said Dr. Saily Sosa, who recently participated in the 28th International Conference of Neurosciences and Neurochemistry held in Barcelona, ​​Spain . There she received the First Prize with the research entitled "Clinical and demographic characteristics of patients with Alzheimer's disease and Minor Cognitive Deterioration in a rural Cuban community."

Alzheimer's figures

Alzheimer's disease, so associated with aging, is also a priority in Cuba, so a lot of resources are allocated for the scientific research of new biological markers and medications that allow for the early detection and thus achieve timely treatment during the initial stages of Alzheimer's disease.

Population aging is a priority of the Ministry of Public Health, the Government and the Party in Cuba. This is reflected in more than 5 Guidelines of the Cuban National Economic and Social Development Plan until 2030, approved at the VII Party Congress in 2016.

In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Alzheimer's as a priority of world public health and in May 2017 approved an action plan against dementia. According to the report of the International Alzheimer's Association (ADI), every three seconds someone in the world develops dementia.

More than 50 million people live with this disease worldwide. This figure is expected to double every 20 years, which shows an exponential increase, representing around 152 million by 2050, if effective strategies are not implemented worldwide.

The global cost of dementia represents more than one million dollars, which already exceeds the market value of the world's largest companies, including Apple and Microsoft.

The concern of health authorities in the world, and especially in Cuba, is the first step to provide a hopeful future for those suffering from some type of dementia, as well as their families. "But the saddest and most important part of this epidemic is not the economic or social cost, but the human cost. That is why we must be relentless in our eternal fight against the disease," said the specialist.

In Cuba the life expectancy is 78.9 years and 160 thousand people live with dementia. This figure is estimated to increase to 440 thousand by 2050. Currently, 20.3 percent of the Cuban population is 60 years of age or older. In the province of Artemisa, this figure already reaches 18 percent.

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