“Kobe Model” of Early Detection and Management for Dementia

Kobe city

WHO Kobe Centre and Kobe University announced that the research protocols of “An Implementation Research Study in Kobe Municipality, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, for Strategy Proposal to Reduce the Social Burden of Dementia” have been reviewed and approved by the WHO Research Ethics Review Committee and other local committees, and the research process will start on August 1.

Worldwide, there has been a significant increase in the numbers of people with some form of dementia. In 2012, more than 8 million people have cognitive problems in Japan, including over 4.5 million people with dementia and people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). This figure will increase with population ageing. Earlier identification of dementia enables health workers, communities and families to implement interventions that can slow the process of cognitive decline, and thus potentially delaying the transition to severe dementia.

WHO Kobe Centre is supporting Kobe University and key partners to conduct a three year project, with support by Kobe City, to conduct an analysis of health data of approximately 80000 Kobe citizens in their 70s, collected by Kobe municipality through its routine Kihon Checklist (KCL) survey. The researchers will further analyze high risk populations among the KCL survey respondents, of approximately 5000 people to measure cognitive function and quality of life. Analysis will also be undertaken of approximately 5000 Frailty Check-up participants to measure cognitive function and quality of life. Lastly, researchers will study the impact of an additional long-term cognitive training program for 100 participants of the “Brain Health Class” program administered by Kobe City last year. The results of the study will inform community based models and policy options for Kobe Municipality, national government and the international community.

“The outcome of the research is expected to contribute to concrete solutions to help improve the quality of life for persons living with dementia and their family members. The research will provide good evidence to the world about how to structure community-based care programmes for dementia,” said Dr Sarah Louise Barber, Director, WHO Kobe Centre.

“The results of this research project will hopefully create a robust “assessment-intervention-feedback” circle within Kobe City. The outcome of the research will be disseminated through academic journals to the world and is expected to contribute to public health policy options by showing a reasonable community model and the evidence behind it,” said Professor Yoji Nagai, lead researcher and Director, Clinical & Translational Research Center, Kobe University Hospital.

Kobe University (lead research institution):

    • Dr Yoji Nagai (principal investigator), Professor and Director, Clinical & Translational Research Center, Kobe University Hospital
    • Dr Hisatomo Kowa, Professor, Graduate School of Health Sciences, Kobe University
    • Dr Yasuji Yamamoto, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Medicine, Kobe University
    • Dr Shinsuke Kojima, Medical Science Group, Division of Medical Innovation, Translational Research Informatics Center
    • Dr Kiyoshi Maeda, Professor, School of Rehabilitation, Kobe Gakuin University
    • Dr Ryoma Kayano, Technical Officer, WHO Kobe Centre