Faculty of Medicine

Better Aging - Science and Innovation to Combat Dementia

Dementia conference in Brussels illustration photo
The event Better Aging - Science and Innovation to Combat Dementia will focus on a successful bottom-up approach with patient and public involvement (PPI) by early empowerment and improved communication.

Main content

Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have a devastating impact on the people with the disease and their families. In addition to the cognitive and physical symptoms, many people become isolated and marginalized; they lose their friends and are misunderstood by their own family members. Caring for someone with dementia is a huge burden. 

Dementia is a global health challenge and is exceptional in size, costs and impact. Currently, there are an estimated 45 million people with dementia worldwide and the number will reach 120 million by 2050. With 7.7 million new diagnosed cases per year, it has been calculated that more than 600 million people worldwide will live with this syndrome in the next 40 years. 

The provision of economically viable and proper care for these people is one of the most pressing health issues in the European countries. Professionals and policy-makers highly prioritize the support of caregivers who experience a vast strain. Still, there is a lack of collaborative high-quality research investigating clinical, social, innovative and economic factors that may add beneficial effects. This is of key importance for patients and clinicians, alike, since the Lancet Commission report on “Prevalence of Dementia” suggests that 35% of the cases may be preventable. 

The event Better Aging - Science and Innovation to Combat Dementia  will focus on a successful bottom-up approach with patient and public involvement (PPI) by early empowerment and improved communication. We aim to discuss the complexity of staying safely, longer and independently at home with dignity and cost-effectiveness intended to reduce societal` and caregivers` burden. Following topics are approached in detail:

Session 1. Chair: Professor Guri Rørtveit.

09:30-09:40: Welcome. Dean Per Bakke,University of Bergen.

09:40-09:50: Opening remarks. Professor Guri Rørtveit, University of Bergen. 

09:50-10:10: The future research agenda and Horizon Europe. Executive Director Frédéric Destrebecq, European Brain Council.

10:10-10:30: Living with dementia. Film Director Ragnhild Nøst Bergem.

10:30-10:45: Break.

Session 2. Chair: Professor Helge Ræder.

10:45-11:05: Harnessing the power of patients, carers and the public to empower research. Associate Professor Piers Kotting, University of Exeter Medical School.

11:05-11:25: Protecting frail elderly and informal caregivers: the role of public long- term care financing. Assistant Professor Pieter Bakx, Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management, Rotterdam.

11:25-11:45: Welfare society of tomorrow. CEO Fredrik Gulowsen, NyBy.

11:45-12:05: Warm technology - how and why? Researcher Nora Scheel, No Isolation. (Cancelled)

12:15-13:30: Lunch.

Session 3. Chair: Professor Per Bakke.

13:30-13:45: BetterAge: How to delay dementia onset through a comprehensive set of preventative measures. Professor Bettina Husebø , University of Bergen.

13:45-14:00: Long term care in the Netherlands, dignity and pride/price? Professor Wilco Achterberg, University of Leiden. (Cancelled)

14:00-14:15: Big-data analysis of Norwegian health registries to identify new treatment for dementia. Professor Trond Riise, University of Bergen. 

14:15-14:30: Neurodegeneration: can there be order from chaos? Professor Charalampos Tzoulis, University of Bergen.

14.30-14:45: Discussion and concluding remarks.

14:45- : Mingling and networking (drinks and snacks).


Per Bakke

Per Bakke is Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Bergen. His main research area is lung health.

Guri Rørtveit

Guri Rørtveit is Head of Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen. Her background is as a medical doctor, and she is  professor of primary care. She has done a lot of research based on Norwegian national registries, particularly on infectious diseases in primary care and pelvic floor disorders in women. She leads a national infrastructure for research in primary care.

Ragnhild Nøst Bergem

Ragnhild Nøst Bergem is a prize-awarded film director and cinematographer. Through Bergems film work we get closer to people who normally remain silent. Her latest documentary “Remember me?” premiered at IDFA, the worlds largest documentary film festival. The film is a strong portrait of young people who suffer from early onset dementia, and their next of kin. The film is a touching and honest story about life quality and life worth. Bergem is now working on a new documentary following people with dementia. The film will be finalized at the end of 2019.

Helge Ræder

Helge Ræder is Vice Dean of innovation, Faculty of Medicine, University of Bergen. His main research area is diabetes and stem cells.

Piers Cotting

Piers Cottings has, over the past 12 years, been involved in efforts to increase the UK’s capabilities and capacity in dementia research, including setting up the NIHR Dementias and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Network in 2006 with Professors Martin Rossor (UCL) and Ian McKeith (Newcastle); being a member of the Research Champions Group for the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia (2012 – 2015); leading the development of Join Dementia Research, a national public engagement research recruitment service, and ENRICH, a UK-wide network of research ready care homes; and most recently as the Programme Director for Prof Rossor in his role as the NIHR’s National Director for Dementia Research. Piers has been an NHS England Innovation Accelerator Fellow since 2015.

Pietr Bakx

Pieter Bakx is affiliated with the Health Economics group at the Institute for Health Policy and Management. Furthermore, he is a fellow of the Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement (Netspar). Bakx studies topics related to the financing and organization of health care, most of his research is on long-term care financing.


Fredrik Gulowsen is a serial entrepreneur with experience from tech-startups like Zwipe, Filmgrail, and Kolonial.no and now Nyby. Fredrik studied political science at University of Oslo, and holds an Executive Master of Management from BI. Nyby is a social tech startup based in Oslo. Nyby has, together with a number of municipalities and organizations from volunteer and private sector co-created a new type digital platform – to enable the welfare society of tomorrow. Nyby is now active in 30+ organizations and municipalities in Norway, and is gaining international interest.

Nora Scheel

Nora Scheel works as a researcher at No Isolation. No Isolation is a Norwegian startup, founded in October 2015, which tackle loneliness and involuntary social isolation by developing communication tools that help those affected. Their products include AV1, the telepresence robot for children with long-term illness, and KOMP, the one-button screen connecting generations.

Bettina Husebø

Bettina Husebø has done research in the areas of Pain Assessment and Treatment in People with Dementia; Complex Interventions at Home and in the Nursing Home; Impact of Treating Pain on Behavioural Disturbances in People with Dementia, and Psychometric Property Studies. She is leading several international studies in these fields.

Wilco Achterberg

Wilco Achterberg (1963) is an elderly care physician at a nursing home organisation (Topaz) in the Netherlands, and a professor of institutional care and elderly care medicine at Leiden University Medical Center since 2010. He tries to improve quality of life of the most vulnerable older people, those in nursing homes, by doing research and the training of physicians. He is chair of the University Network for the Care Sector South-Holland (UNC-ZH), in which nursing homes cooperate to create, share and use the most relevant and best available knowledge to improve the quality of multidisciplinairy care.

Trond Riise

Professor Trond Riise, Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen. Expert in neuroepidemiology and biostatistics. PI on several international studies.

Charalampos Tzoulis

Charalampos Tzoulis is Professor of Neurology and Neurogenetics. He is Director of the research group Neuromics.org at the University of Bergen and Vice Director of the Neuro-SysMed Center of Excellence for Brain Disorders at Haukeland University Hospital. His research focuses on Parkinson's disease, neurodegeneration and aging.