The “Virtual Physiological Human: DementiA Research Enabled by IT” (VPH-DARE@IT) project will deliver the first integrative and validated multiscale modelling platform for biomedical research and clinical decision support, underpinned by a set of unique databases and modelling paradigms. This platform will tackle the early and differential diagnosis of dementias using a combination of mechanistic and phenomenological models of the ageing brain, taking into account the environmental context.

Led by Professor Alejandro Frangi from the University of Sheffield, UK, the interdisciplinary consortium comprises 21 partners representing 10 countries across Europe, and includes engineering, physical, biomedical and clinical scientists and industrial partners. EIBIR is contributing to the dissemination and exploitation activities of the project.

The number of individuals suffering from dementia today is roughly 36 million. Due to ageing societies, this number is predicted to increase to 115 million by 2050. Worldwide annual costs are estimated to be €450 billion. In 2012, the WHO declared dementia a global health priority, highlighting the urgent need for improvements in this area.

VPH-DARE@IT’s aim is to enable more objective, earlier, predictive and individualised diagnoses and prognoses of dementias to cope with the challenge of an ageing European society. The expected impact of VPH-DARE@IT will influence the scientific, clinical and industrial communities across Europe and internationally to improve health care of dementia patients.

The project commenced on April 1 2013 and a kick-off meeting was held in Sheffield, UK April 16-17 2013.