Six in ten aging Canadian boomers experienced short term memory loss in the past year



    "Not all memory problems are Alzheimer's disease"

    TORONTO, July 9 /CNW Telbec/ - Findings from a recent survey on Age
Associated Memory Impairment (AAMI) showed that 6 in 10 (58%) aging Canadian
boomers have experienced short-term memory loss over the past year, with
7 in 10 (68%) noting that they are very or somewhat concerned about this
complaint. The survey on Age Associated Memory Impairment (AAMI) was conducted
for the Alzheimer's Foundation for Caregiving in Canada by IPSOS in June among
1,390 adults between the ages of 40 and 60 and 349 Alzheimer's disease
caregivers.
    "Age Associated Memory Impairment, or AAMI, is not a neurological
disorder - it is characterized by mild memory decline that occurs in many
adults as part of the normal aging process," said Dr. Nathan Herrmann,
Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and
Staff Psychiatrist and Head of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry,
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. "Like every other aging organ, certain
aspects of the brain's functioning declines with age and as we get older
biological and chemical changes occur and our brains shrink."
    AAMI is an age-related memory complaint, versus Alzheimer's disease,
which is a neurodegenerative disease.(1)

    Being proactive is critical

    "Not all memory problems are Alzheimer's disease. Numerous names have
been given to common memory problems that occur in older persons that are not
necessarily caused by serious neurological problems such as Alzheimer's
disease or other forms of dementia," said Taras Rohatyn, President of the
Alzheimer's Foundation for Caregiving in Canada (AFCC).
    "We need to better understand what and how Canadians think about memory
loss/forgetfulness so that we can prepare initiatives that highlight warning
signs of memory problems, the importance of screening and early detection, as
well as other steps people can take for successful aging. Being pro-active is
critical," he said.
    Among respondents who experienced memory loss in the past year, the most
commonly cited examples were forgetting where items, such as keys and glasses,
were placed (35%) and personal names (34%).

    Other findings included:

    
    - More than two thirds (69%) of those surveyed said they would be
      interested in participating in a memory screening clinic with a nurse,
      pharmacist or other healthcare professional;
    - Four in ten (42%) of those surveyed said they would be very likely to
      take measures such as exercise, diet, natural products, medication or
      other means to prevent or control memory loss / forgetfulness;
    - Only one in ten (9%) respondents strongly agreed that there are
      effective treatments for memory loss/forgetfulness;
    - Respondents said they would consult a variety of sources for guidance
      and information to find out about memory loss/forgetfulness and how to
      prevent it, including their doctor (88%) and the Internet (62%) or a
      pharmacist (21%);
    - Most (85%) respondents had never heard of the term Age Associated
      Memory Impairment (AAMI).

    "While most people look to their healthcare professional for more
information on memory loss/forgetfulness, there is currently no standardized
screening tool for AAMI," added Dr. Herrmann.

    Alzheimer's disease caregivers more troubled

    Findings were different when comparing AAMI survey results for Alzheimer's
disease caregivers to other adults aged 40 to 60 who are not Alzheimer's
disease caregivers.

    - More Alzheimer's disease caregivers expressed concern about memory
      loss/forgetfulness resulting from aging than other adults aged 40 to 60
      (76% compared to 58%);
    - Alzheimer's disease caregivers are most likely to be concerned about
      memory loss/forgetfulness (76%) compared to other aging conditions,
      such as decreased vision (66%), weight gain (65%) and sleep disorders
      (58%);
    - More than half (55%) of Alzheimer's disease caregivers said they would
      be very likely to take measures such as exercise, diet, natural
      products and medication to prevent or control memory
      loss/forgetfulness, versus 38% of other adults;
    - More than one third (36%) of Alzheimer's disease caregivers strongly
      agreed that memory loss scared them compared to 19% of other adults
      aged 40 to 60;
    - More than one third (36%) of Alzheimer's disease caregivers were very
      concerned about experiencing short-term memory loss compared to 27% of
      other adults aged 40 to 60;
    - More than one third (37%) of Alzheimer's disease caregivers were very
      concerned about experiencing long-term memory loss compared to 21% of
      other adults aged 40 to 60.

    "I would expect Alzheimer's disease caregivers to have a different
perspective about memory loss. Their concerns and fears are built upon a
reality that they live with every day in caring for their loved ones,"
commented Mr. Rohatyn. "It's important that they turn these concerns into
reminders that they should take care of themselves."

    About Age Associated Memory Impairment (AAMI)

    AAMI appears to be highly prevalent across diverse groups of individuals
with close to one in three people aged 60 to 78 affected by AAMI.(1,2) AAMI is
attributed to normal biological changes that occur as a person ages rather
than a continuum from normal aging to a pathologic state such as Alzheimer's
disease.(1,3,4,5,6) In order to better understand this condition, researchers
are studying these biological changes, as well as genetic and environmental
factors that may have an impact on symptoms of AAMI.(3)

    Management strategies that may help an individual stay sharp and keep
their mind active include:(7)

    - Eating a healthy diet;
    - Getting regular exercise;
    - Staying socially active;
    - Reducing stress;
    - Doing crosswords;
    - Playing chess, or;
    - Learning a new language.

    About the AFCC

    The Alzheimer's Foundation for Caregiving in Canada Inc. (AFCC) is a new,
national not-for-profit charity focused on providing optimal care to those
with Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses, and their families, and is a
sister organization to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA). The
Foundation is involved in advocacy at the national and local levels in various
ways, including National Memory Screening Day, an early detection initiative
that will take place for the first time in Canada on November 18, 2008, and
funding for care programs. The AFCC also provides comprehensive educational
materials and a free magazine for caregivers. For more information, please
visit www.alzfdn.ca or call 1-877-321-2594.

    Survey details

    The AAMI survey, which was made possible thanks to an unrestricted
educational grant from OVOS Natural Health Inc., was conducted for AFCC by
IPSOS, one of the world's leading survey-based marketing research firms.
Results were obtained by means of a Web survey conducted nationally with
1,390 adults between the ages of 40 and 60 and 349 Alzheimer's disease
caregivers. The margin of error is +/- 2.6 percentage points 19 times out of
20 for the sample of adults aged 40 to 60 and +/- 5.2 percentage points 19
times out of 20 for the sample of Alzheimer's disease caregivers. Results were
weighted by respondent, gender and region, according to the most recent Census
statistics in order to obtain a representative sample of the target population
in Canada.

    B-ROLL FOOTAGE IS AVAILABLE

    References:
    -----------

    1. Koivisto, K, et al. Prevalence of Age-Associated Memory Impairment in
       a randomly selected population from eastern Finland. Neurology
       1995;45:741-747 (accessed 2008-07-05) Available at:
       www.neurology.org/cgi/content/abstract/45/4/741
    2. Krasuski, Jack S. Behavior and Aging: 2000. Department of Psychiatry,
       University of Illinois at Chicago; 2000 (accessed 2008-06-02)
       Available at:
      
http://www.psych.uic.edu/education/courses/behav_science2000/krasuski/behavi~1
/sld009.htm).
    3. Age Associated Memory Impairment. NYU Medical Center / NYU School of
       Medicine, Alzheimer's Disease Center; 2005 (cited 2008 June 2).
       Available at: http://www.med.nyu.edu/adc/forpatients/memory.html
    4. McEntee, W.J. and Crook, Neurology, 40, 1990, 526-530.
    5. McEntee, W.J. and Crook, Psychopharmacology (Berl), 103, 1991, 143-149
    6. McEntee, W.J. and Crook, Psychopharmacology (Berl), 111, 1993, 391-401
    7. Your Health & Wellness, Cognitive Aging (accessed 2008-07-05)
       Available at: www.thirdage.com/ebsco/files/30032.html
    




For further information:

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(604) 691-7393

Organization Profile

ALZHEIMER'S FOUNDATION FOR CAREGIVING IN CANADA INC. (AFCC)

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