Sara Garcia Ptacek
Dementia epidemiology and clinical dementia research. Neurologist with a clinical practice in the Cognitive Clinic, KS, Solna
I am a neurologist working clinically at the Cognitive Clinic, Aging Brain Theme in Karolinska University Hospital in Solna. My PhD was on dementia epidemiology and my current research employs epidemiological methods to address questions on dementia, cognition, aging, access to care (depending on comorbidities and socioeconomics), and, lately, COVID-19.
Medication repurposing to slow cognitive decline in dementia:
Medication repurposing is a cost and time-effective way to discover new treatments. Swedish registers are a unique tool to detect medication candidates for repurposing. The Swedish Dementia Registry (SveDem www.svedem.se) has >100000 patients and repeated measures of cognition over time (measured with the Mini-Mental State Examination—MMSE), making it perfect to examine whether certain medications are associated with less cognitive decline in patients with dementia. We propose a study combining traditional cohort studies and newer artificial intelligence (machine learning) techniques to detect medications associated with slower cognitive decline in patients from SveDem. We will test pre-specified hypotheses since we suspect specific medications are better candidates to prevent cognitive decline, but we will also let the machine learning algorithms explore the data to find associations that we do not suspect in advance. Finally, the candidate medications will be tested in animal and cellular models to determine the mechanisms of their effects.
Influence of COVID-19 and the pandemic on care, treatment and cognition of persons with dementia in Sweden:
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the health and livelihood of most people worldwide but has disproportionately affected individuals in disadvantaged positions. We aim to examine the incidence and consequences of Covid-19 and the greater consequences of the pandemic in individuals with dementia. We identified individuals with Covid-19 from SmiNet and age, sex and region matched controls. Merged registries provided information on socioeconomic position in the years before and after Covid-19, social support and care, medications, dementia diagnosis and other comorbidities and mortality. Because Covid-19 disrupts care in patients with dementia, we use the Swedish Dementia Registry (SveDem), to determine how patients with dementia, specifically, fared during the pandemic. At present, we are have obtained this dataset and are actively seeking funding for this project.
2015 PhD Thesis. "Dementia: preclinical stages and mortality in Swedish cohorts". Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain. Supervisors: Maria Luz Cuadrado (Universidad Complutense de Madrid-tutor and thesis director) and Maria Eriksdotter (Karolinska Institutet-thesis director). Cum Laude and European Mention.
Akademiska priser och utmärkelser
2023 Docent in Neurosciences at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
2019 Fellow of the European Board of Neurology (FEBN)
2017-2020: Postdoctoral fellowship funded by the Swedish Society of Medical Research.
2017 Prize for Clinical Thesis from the Spanish National Royal Academy of Medicine
2015 Excellence prize for PhD thesis from Universidad Complutense de Madrid