COST is the acronym for "European Cooperation in the Field of Scientific and Technical Research". It is an inter-governmental framework for fostering collaboration between researchers in Europe in a "bottom-up" manner. More information about COST can be found at the official COST website.
About this COST Action
The number of older adults will increase considerably in the next decades. Since age is the main risk factor for dementia and pain, the number of patients with both dementia and pain will also grow. When dementia and pain concur, their impact on the European society multiplies and asks for transnational solutions. It seems already now evident that pain is grossly undertreated in dementia.
Our Aim: This COST Action brings together leading researchers from a wide range of scientific disciplines. The major aim is the development of a comprehensive and internationally agreed-on assessment toolkit for older adults targeting the various subtypes of dementia and various aspects of pain, including pain diagnostics, cognitive examination and guidelines for proper assessment. Validation of this toolkit requires joint action of both basic and clinical sciences. Only hereby, the urgently needed improvement of pain management in dementia can start.
Specification of achievements: The toolkit will target pain intensity, pain unpleasantness, pain sites, pain-concurrent behavioural and emotional problems - like agitation, aggression, sleep and eating disorders, anxiety and depression. Cognitive examination by neuropsychological methods will be included. It will be based mainly on observer ratings (carer, family, nurses) and will rely on self-report only in mild cases of cognitive impairment. The assembled tools will cover pain in general as well as the most prevalent specific forms of pain (toothache, headache, joint and back pain, etc.). The various stages of the disorders will be considered; particularly, specific tools for palliative care will be integrated into the toolkit. The development of the toolkit will require as final step a systematic testing of its validity and its sensitivity to analgesic treatment. Accordingly, multi-centre clinical studies and controlled drug trials will be run. The necessary convergence of the toolkit with physiological and behavioural markers of pain such as motor and autonomic reflexes, brain electrical activity andmagnetic resonance imaging will be investigated.
A Poster is available here which summarises the activities performed within the Action.
The Action is guided by the Management Committee, which is formed by not more than two-four representatives of each country. Members of the Managemet Committee have signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which defines the background, objectives and benefits, scientific programme and organisation of the Action.