• ​Vascular dementia is highly prevalent in Asians occurring in 70 to 80 percent of patients with dementia
  • Clinical trial to study how extract from the leaves of Ginkgo biloba can be used to treat early stage vascular dementia
Singapore, 27 August 2019 – Close to 82,000 people in Singapore suffer from dementia  and it is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of dementia patients have vascular dementia . Vascular dementia refers to cognitive impairment caused by decreased blood flow to the brain that can occur after strokes. NNI has signed an MOU with Schwabe Pharma to develop preventive therapeutics for vascular dementia through clinical trials. 

Vascular dementia occurs when post-stroke patients are affected by Post Stroke Cognitive Impairment (PSCI) and close to 30% of such persons will go on to develop dementia within a year. Dementia is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, behavioral changes and disability that can severely affect the patient’s functional abilities and daily living. With an ageing population, it is vital to understand the disease better and develop new options to delay or prevent the onset of dementia. 

Prevalence in Asia

Findings from NNI have demonstrated that there is a high prevalence of cerebrovascular diseases, such as strokes, among Asian patients with mild cognitive impairment and dementia. 70 to 80 percent of patients with dementia in NNI have co-existing vascular dementia, or cognitive impairment as a result of strokes as well as silent stroke. 

Associate Professor Nagaendran Kandiah, Senior Consultant, Department of Neurology, NNI explains, “27% of patients with mild cognitive impairment and cerebrovascular disease go on to develop dementia annually. With the prevalence of vascular dementia in Singapore and Asia, treatment to reduce the risk of dementia among patients with both mild cognitive impairment and cerebrovascular disease are urgently needed.”

Developing New Therapeutics for Vascular Dementia

Schwabe Pharma is supporting NNI in a clinical trial to study the effectiveness of EGb 761 and explore preventive therapeutics for vascular dementia. 

EGb 761 is a patented standardised extract from the leaves of Ginkgo biloba, which has been shown in previous studies to improve blood circulation in the brain. It has several neuroprotective mechanisms that are helpful for patients with mild cognitive impairment or dementia, and has extensive benefits such as improving blood circulation to the brain, stabilises the energy production in the nerve cells, promotes the formation of new nerve cells, improves the blood supply and reduces the harmfulness of the beta-amyloid protein responsible for Alzheimer’s disease.   

In this two-year collaborative study, NNI will analyse the role of EGb 761 for the treatment of early stage vascular dementia. The partnership will leverage on NNI’s clinical and research capabilities in dementia, as well as Schwabe Group’s knowledge on the use of EGb 761. 

“With our ageing population and vascular risk factors on the rise in Singapore, dementia poses a great burden not only on afflicted individuals and their families, but also on society as a whole. We are excited about this collaboration with Schwabe Group as we can co-create possibilities for dementia prevention to improve quality of life and reduce the disease burden,” said Associate Professor Ng Wai Hoe, Medical Director, NNI.  

“Schwabe is honoured to be working with a national and regional specialist centre such as NNI. This collaboration brings together Schwabe and NNI shared interest in neurology that is the alleviation of suffering among patients and caregivers of dementia,” said Mr Peter Braun, Head of International Market, Schwabe Group.