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Professor behind research on dementia in Denmark receives Marie and August Krogh Prize

09 Jan
2019

Gunhild Waldemar, Professor and Chair, Danish Dementia Research Centre has worked for more than 30 years to raise awareness of dementia politically and among the general public.

Gunhild Waldemar has done this very successfully and receives the 2019 Marie and August Krogh Prize for her untiring efforts in this field. The Prize is awarded annually to an outstanding health researcher in Denmark. The Foundation and the Organization of Danish Medical Societies award the Prize, which is accompanied by DKK 1.5 million.

”It’s wonderful to be recognized and know that one’s work is valued. Many other people have helped to shape the Danish Dementia Research Centre, but I am proud that I have been involved in linking research and the education of healthcare professionals to enable people with dementia today to get much better treatment than when I first started out in this field many years ago,” explains Gunhild Waldemar.

Substantial contribution to research and education on dementia

In Denmark, 90,000 people are living with dementia, a figure that is expected to increase to 123,000 by 2030. The need for care of people with dementia will therefore increase substantially. Fortunately, Denmark is relatively well prepared, since its dementia research is among the international leaders in the field.

Gunhild Waldemar’s contribution to bringing Danish dementia research to its current level is hard to match.

  • In 1991, she co-founded the Danish Alzheimer Association.
  • In 1995, she founded the first Danish interdisciplinary memory clinic, which diagnoses and treats people with dementia. This has been the model for several similar treatment centres since then.
  • In 2007, she established and has led the Danish Dementia Research Centre which aims to give healthcare professionals in Denmark’s regions and municipalities access to the latest knowledge within dementia and is a mainstay in the education of doctors, nurses, care personnel and other healthcare professionals working with people with dementia.
  • She played a major scientific role in developing the Danish government’s national action plan on dementia towards 2025, which was launched in 2017.

Henrik Ullum, Chair of the Organization of Danish Medical Societies, says: “Gunhild Waldemar is receiving the Prize for her lifelong and untiring work to combat dementia. She has contributed substantially to research and education on dementia and especially worked to benefit people with dementia. She has also put families into focus, because dementia also affects them.”

Much can be done for people with dementia

Gunhild Waldemar’s scientific career has been wide-ranging and spans research on and treating people with dementia. She began by studying the diagnostic imaging of people with dementia but today mostly focuses on intervention studies and epidemiology. Most recently, she has conducted two major studies of intervention treatment.

The first study was one of the first major clinical intervention studies focusing on Danes with dementia and involved a psychosocial initiative with a group of newly diagnosed people. The second study was completed recently and covered intervention with moderate to hard physical exercise for people with dementia. Both studies helped to shape the treatment guidelines that health professionals use today in initiatives for people with dementia.

”While we wait for a cure, we can still do much for people with dementia. This includes how we treat them and how we can make it easier for their families. I have recently been involved in developing and launching several initiatives for people with dementia under the national action plan for dementia. These include trials with making hospitals more dementia-friendly so that people with dementia who are hospitalized with other diseases can receive the appropriate treatment and care. I am currently very interested in this field,” says Gunhild Waldemar.

About the Marie and August Krogh Prize

The Marie and August Krogh Prize was established in 1969 and is awarded annually to an outstanding health researcher in Denmark. The Novo Nordisk Foundation and the Organization of Danish Medical Societies award the Prize, including a personal award of DKK 250,000 and a research grant of DKK 1.25 million. The Board of the Organization acts as the Prize committee, and the Foundation provides the accompanying funds. Affiliated members of the Organization of Danish Medical Societies may nominate candidates for the Prize.

About the Organization of Danish Medical Societies

The Organization of Danish Medical Societies represents nearly 25,000 members and is an umbrella organization for Denmark’s medical societies. The objective of the Organization is to promote medical science in Denmark and to manage the overall interests of its constituent societies in relation to Denmark’s health authorities and national health policies. The Organization also promotes an understanding of Danish medical science and medical research in the public sector. The Organization was founded in 1919 as the Danish Medical Society.

Further information

Gunhild Waldemar, Professor, phone: +45 2630 2580, gunhild.waldemar.01@regionh.dk

Christian Mostrup Scheel, Senior Press Officer, phone: +45 3067 4805, cims@novo.dk

The 2019 Marie and August Krogh Prize has been awarded to Gunhild Waldemar for contributing to research and education on dementia. The Novo Nordisk Foundation and the Organization of Danish Medical Societies award the Prize, which is accompanied by DKK 1.5 million.

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