When the secretases that produce Aβ were first identified in the late 1990s, some people felt that the writing was on the wall for Alzheimer’s disease: a little effort on protease inhibitor development and the end was near. History has proven the over-optimism of this naïve view. Several hundred dementia treatment trials have failed, which dampened the enthusiasm of finding a silver bullet in the near future.
At the Greater Good Series Event, Dr Feng Lei, Research Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychological Medicine, addressed how a non-drug approach with behavioral interventions is the key for dementia prevention. “Based on community-based cohort in Singapore, we have identified a number of modifiable risk factors (for example, elevated plasma total homocysteine, high depressive symptoms) and protective factors (for example, education, cognitive stimulating activities, social interactions, tea consumption).”
Several interventional studies have been initiated successfully, including a large randomized controlled trial that aims to assess the efficacy and underlying biological mechanisms of choral singing in the prevention of cognitive decline among at-risk individuals living in the community.
A new study, The Fan Chang Tien Chinese Ink Painting for the Prevention of Dementia Research Study, is currently being planned. This would be a collaborative project with the Mind-Science Centre, the Shanghai Mental Health Centre and the Shanghai Jiao Tong University—forming the first such evidence-based collaboration in old-age mental health between Singapore and China.
He further elaborated that Asia can develop its own interventions that are more relevant to Asian phenotypes and culture. With more positive results across such lifestyle interventions, communities can integrate these activities into daily regimen and increase mental resilience with a non-drug approach.
The objective of the MSC Greater Good Series is to raise awareness in mental health issues and cultivate an Undefeated Mind. Through such talks, events and discussions, we hope to attract philanthropic and community support for the Mind-Science Centre’s research, education and programme initiatives across all ages. The Series has been made possible through the generous support of Mr K H Tan and Newsman Realty Pte Ltd. For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.