Call for Nations to Support Early Diagnosis and Intervention
NEW YORK AND LONDON, Sept. 13, 2011 /CNW/ - 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
"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
"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
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
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
"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
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
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,
SOURCE Alzheimer's Disease International
For further information:
Louise Pratt, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, +44-20-7848-5378, email@example.com; Sarah Smith, Alzheimer's Disease International (London), +44-7930-917647, firstname.lastname@example.org, Niles Frantz, Alzheimer's Association (Chicago), +1-312-335-5777, email@example.com