Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Stop and think about dementia today

This Farmdoc’s Blog post’s close to my heart. Today’s mid-way through National Dementia Awareness Week [1]. And, whether deliberate or coincidential, yesterday was World Alzheimer’s Day [2, 3]. Alzheimer’s is but one type of dementia, but the highest profile one. Its continuing rising prevalence has major implications for individuals, families, communities and nations. World Alzheimer’s Day was initiated by Alzheimer’s Disease International in 1994. It’s a day when people and NGOs world-wide raise public awareness, via the media, of the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s [4]. This year’s theme is ‘Dementia: it’s time for action’. I think the difficulties faced by the family of a each person with Alzheimer’s must be appreciated by carers and governments. Much Alzheimer’s research is being done world-wide, but to date there’s no confirmed cause and so no effective prevention or treatment. Increased research on both these topics must be funded. Given the ageing of Western populations, unless effective prevention and treatment can be discovered and implemented, Alzheimer’s will have dire manpower and resource implications for health budgets already under huge pressure. The NYT recently published this review of Alzheimer’s [5] which I found more informative than any review I’ve read in medical journals. I can’t bid you ‘Happy National Dementia Awareness Week’ or ‘Happy World Alzheimer’s Day’. But today at least, stop and think about dementia. And if you’re not personally touched by it, spare a thought for those who are.

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