Women's Brain Health Initiative Hails National Dementia Strategy Bill

Calls for gender issues to be an essential component

TORONTO, June 26, 2017 /CNW/ - Women's Brain Health Initiative (WBHI) welcomes the passage of Bill C-233, an act respecting a national strategy for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

"Dementia is a looming public health challenge for Canada and we are encouraged that the Parliament of Canada has seen the urgent need to develop a plan for dealing with it," said the Founder and President of WBHI, Lynn Posluns.

Ms. Posluns praised the co-sponsors of the bill, Honourable Rob Nicholson, MP Niagara Falls, and Rob Oliphant, MP Don Valley West, for their leadership.

The legislation calls upon the Minister of Health to convene a conference within 180 days to begin work on developing the strategy, bringing together representatives from the provinces and territories, health care professionals, caregivers and the broad array of stakeholders working in the field of dementia.

WBHI was among many organizations campaigning for years for a dementia strategy and stands ready to make a positive contribution to the process. In particular, WBHI will urge that our emerging understanding of the gender divide be given careful consideration and that it form a core element of the strategy.   Women suffer from dementia twice as frequently as men and approximately 70 per cent of new Alzheimer's patients will be women.  Yet research efforts to date continue to focus on men, while the clear needs of women demand immediate attention.

Women bear a disproportionate burden of Alzheimer's. Not only are they more frequently the patients, they are also overwhelmingly the caregivers--not just of their own blood relatives, but also those of their partners and loved ones. Very often the incessant demands of caregiving force women to sacrifice hard-won, successful careers.

"While all people with dementia deserve equal attention, care and dignity, a national strategy must take into account the stark differences in how it hits men and women," said Ms. Posluns.

Women's Brain Health Initiative (WBHI) is a Canadian charitable organization inspired to combat women's brain health disorders through investment in focused, innovative research at leading institutions across Canada. It also acts proactively in response to the challenge of these mind-robbing diseases with unique educational programs that promote cognitive vitality through healthy lifestyle choices, while encouraging people to be alert to the warning signs so they can be diagnosed earlier.

SOURCE Women's Brain Health Initiative (WBHI)

For further information: JoAnne Korten, Executive Director WBHI, jkorten@womensbrainhealth.org, p 416.927.2011, m 416.606.2399, wbhi.org

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