November 3, 2009

Packages Of Care For Dementia In Low- And Middle-Income Countries

Press release from PLoS Medicine

In the fifth in PLoS Medicine's series of articles on mental, neurological and substance-use disorders in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), Martin Prince and colleagues discuss the treatment of dementia.

Globally, 24.3 million people are affected by dementia and 4.6 million new cases occur annually. The prevalence of dementia is expected to double every 20 years, reaching 81.1 million by 2040. The authors report that two-thirds of people with dementia live in LMICs, where there are few services available and levels of awareness concerning the condition, and help-seeking to treat it, are low.

The authors suggest that the principal goals for management of dementia are detecting and treating behavioral and psychological symptoms early; optimizing cognition, activity, and wellbeing; and providing information and long-term support to carers. They argue that routine packages of continuing care should be employed, comprising of diagnosis coupled with regular needs assessments, physical health checks, and carer support.

The PLoS Medicine series on mental, neurological and substance use disorders is accompanied by a related perspective by Vikram Patel and Graham Thornicroft, the Guest Editors of the series.


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