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World Alzheimer Report 2011 Shows Early Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease Has Health, Financial and Social Benefits

September 12, 2011

NEW YORK and LONDON, September 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ –

Call for Nations to Support Early Diagnosis and Intervention

The World Alzheimer Report 2011, released today by Alzheimer’s Disease
International (ADI), shows that there are interventions that are effective
in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, some of which may be more
effective when started earlier, and that there is a strong economic argument
in favor of earlier diagnosis and timely intervention.

To prepare the report, titled “The Benefits of Early Diagnosis and
Intervention,” ADI commissioned a team of researchers led by Prof. Martin
Prince at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, to undertake
the first-ever, comprehensive, systematic review of all of the evidence on
early diagnosis and early intervention for dementia.

Currently, the great majority of people with dementia receive a
diagnosis late in the course of the disease, if at all, resulting in a
substantial “treatment gap.” This greatly limits their access to valuable
information, treatment, care, and support and compounds problems for all
involved-patients, families, carers, communities and health systems.

“There is no single way to close the treatment gap worldwide,” said
Prof. Prince, the main author of the report. “What is clear is that every
country needs a national dementia strategy that promotes early diagnosis and
a continuum of care thereafter. Primary care services, specialist diagnostic
and treatment centers and community-based services all have a part to play,
but to differing degrees depending upon resources.”

“Failure to diagnose Alzheimer’s in a timely manner represents a tragic
missed opportunity to improve the quality of life for millions of people,”
said Dr. Daisy Acosta, Chairman of ADI. “It only adds to an already massive
global health, social, and fiscal challenge-one we hope to see in the
spotlight at next week’s United Nations Summit on Non-Communicable
Diseases.”

The new ADI report reveals the following:

        - As many as three-quarters of the estimated 36 million people
          worldwide living with dementia have not been diagnosed and hence cannot
          benefit from treatment, information and care. In high-income countries,
          only 20-50% of dementia cases are recognized and documented in primary
          care. In low- and middle-income countries, this proportion could be as
          low as 10%.
        - Failure to diagnose often results from the false belief that
          dementia is a normal part of aging, and that nothing can be done to
          help. On the contrary, the new report finds that interventions can make
          a difference, even in the early stages of the illness.
        - Drugs and psychological interventions for people with
          early-stage dementia can improve cognition, independence, and quality of
          life. Support and counseling for caregivers can improve mood, reduce
          strain and delay institutionalization of people with dementia.
        - Governments, concerned about the rising costs of long-term care
          linked to dementia, should "spend now to save later." Based on a review
          of economic analyses, the report estimates that earlier diagnosis could
          yield net savings of up to US$10,000 per patient in high-income
          countries.

“Over the past year, the research team has reviewed thousands of
scientific studies detailing the impact of early diagnosis and treatment,
and we have found evidence to suggest real benefits for patients and
caregivers,” said Marc Wortmann, Executive Director of ADI. “Earlier
diagnosis can also transform the design and execution of clinical trials to
test new treatments. But first we need to ensure that people have access to
the effective interventions that are already proven and available, which
means that health systems need to be prepared, trained and skilled to
provide timely and accurate diagnoses, communicated sensitively, with
appropriate support.”

To that end, ADI recommends that every country have a national
Alzheimer’s/dementia strategy that promotes early diagnosis and
intervention. More specifically, governments must:

        - Promote basic competency among physicians and other health
          care professionals in early detection of dementia in primary care
          services.
        - Where feasible, create networks of specialist diagnostic centers
          to confirm early-stage dementia diagnosis and formulate care management
          plans.
        - In resource-poor settings, apply the World Health Organization's
          recently developed guidelines for diagnosis and initial management by
          non-specialist health workers.
        - Publicize the availability of evidence-based interventions that
          are effective in improving cognitive function, treating depression,
          improving caregiver mood and delaying institutionalization.
        - Increase investment in research-especially randomized control
          trials to test drugs earlier and over longer periods of time, and to
          test the efficacy of interventions with particular relevance to
          early-stage dementia.

About dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Dementia is a syndrome that can be caused by a number of progressive
disorders that affect memory, thinking, behavior and the ability to perform
everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of
dementia. http://www.alz.co.uk/about-dementia.

According to the World Alzheimer Report 2009, the number of people with
dementia is forecast to nearly double every 20 years-from 36 million in 2010
to 115 million in 2050. According to the World Alzheimer Report 2010, the
costs associated with dementia totaled US$604 billion, about 1% of global
GDP.

September 2011 is the first-ever World Alzheimer’s Month.

http://www.alz.org/wam/wam.asp.

About the World Alzheimer Report 2011

The 2011 World Alzheimer Report is available at
http://www.alz.co.uk/worldreport2011, along with reports published in
previous years.

Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) is the international federation
of 76 Alzheimer associations that support people with dementia and their
families in their respective countries. Founded in 1984, ADI serves as a
network for Alzheimer associations around the world to share and exchange
information, resources and skills. Its vision is “a better quality of life
for people with dementia and their families.” ADI is based in London and is
registered as a non-profit organization in the state of Illinois. For more
information, visit http://www.alz.co.uk.

The Institute of Psychiatry is a school of King’s College London and one
of the world’s largest post-graduate centers for research and teaching in
psychiatry, psychology, and allied disciplines, including basic and clinical
neurosciences. World-renowned for the quality of its research on psychiatry
and psychology, the Institute is the most cited research center outside the
United States, and the second most cited in the world as ranked by Thomson
ISI Essential Science Indicators. Its world-class research-led learning
experience attracts the top students from around the world. For more
information, visit http://www.kcl.ac.uk/iop/index.aspx.

King’s College London is part of King’s Health Partners Academic Health
Sciences Centre (AHSC), which delivers health care to patients and
undertakes health-related science and research. For more information, visit

http://www.kingshealthpartners.org.

SOURCE Alzheimer’s Disease International


Source: PR Newswire