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SEFAS and Yale collaboration

Yale professor Heather Allore visited Centre for Elderly and Nursing Home Medicine (SEFAS). She is working together with Professor Bettina Husebø on the upcoming SFI-application.

Heather allore togheter with Bettina Husebø
Photo:
Ingrid Hagerup

SFI is short for “Centre for Research-based Innovation” and is the Research Council of Norway's way of stimulating the development of research centers that focuses on innovative solutions and economic growth. The application deadline is in September 2019.

For the application, Bettina Husebø is collaborating with Heather Allore, professor and director of several Yale programs and centres, including Yale Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. She came to Bergen to attend the Kavli Seminars, and visited SEFAS Wednesday 29th to lecture on «Symptom trajectories in the last years of life».

Heather Allore has been collaborating with the leader of SEFAS, Bettina Husebø, for several years, and she is involved with Husebø’s ongoing project LIVE@Home.Path. Husebø is also participating on Allore’s research project on medication use in US Veterans with and without dementia.

Differences between US and Norwegian elderly care

They both find it important to find means of how to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia:

"There are not effective medicines against Alzheimer" Allore says.

She sees great differences in the elderly care between Norway and the US:

"First, we have a completely different medical system. We do not have home assisted care, for instance, and the patients have to pay a lot more for the services. For that reasons, we have elderly in the US who have to take monetary decisions on whether they should heat their homes in the winter or pay for their medicine", Allore explains.  

Including the patient’s perspective

Working with graduate student Camilla Kjellstadli who visited Yale for part of her studies financed by a Full-bright Scholarship they studied the use of home assistant care in Norway:

"They are underutilized", Allore says about the services. She points towards the cultural and personal boundaries that prevent people from using those care services:

"Would you let a stranger into your mother’s home to bath her and feed her? The medical practitioners tend to focus on medical outcomes, but forgets to ask the patient what are their priorities and what are their most bothersome symptoms", Allore says.

The perspectives of the patient is also included in Husebø’s SFI project, where she wants to delay the onset of dementia and to follow persons with early onset dementia who are living at home. She hopes to do a complex intervention where the persons participating in the study are eating healthy and are being active, both physically and socially. By collecting data from medical tests and interviews, she hopes to find if living in an “ideal” environment prevents or slows the dementia from developing.

"The inclusion of industry partners to develop and test smart devices and biomarkers to assess the risk for developing dementia is actually the heart of this application", Husebø says.