Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia (40-70% of the cases, in population over 65 years).
Due to the increase in life expectancy and the disease’s slow progression, the prevalence of dementia is going to increase dramatically over the next few decades. Under the new diagnostic guidelines issued in 2010-2011 by the National Institute on Ageing and the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia is seen as a late stage in the evolution of the disease: the guidelines encourage to identify AD at an early stage of development by using a combination of results from structural (MRI), functional (FDG-PET) and molecular (PiB-PET) imaging as well as biochemical tests (analysis of CSF).
By exploiting a powerful Grid-based e-Infrastructure relying on the pan-European network GEANT, DECIDE provides access to the most advanced, scientifically validated applications for the extraction of neuroimaging markers which, when compared with the large reference databases shared by hospitals, provide clinicians with quantitative assessments to support the diagnosis of AD.
The service currently counts more than 100 users, and has made available online tutorials for the training of new users. From the clinical perspective, the DECIDE project has made publicly available procedures for patient preparation, exam preparation, data acquisition and data quality control, with the twofold goal of improving the quality and the informative content of the acquired data and ensuring such data is consistent with the project’s reference datasets.
Although the project has just come to an end (February 2013), the service will be maintained and expanded with new functionalities and new applications, owing to partners’ commitment and synergies with other initiatives at European and national level.
Funding: EU contribution 2,399,998€ out of 3,004,531€