Vienna, July 12, 2009 – A doctor’s positive attitude to Alzheimer’s diagnosis and their trusting, personal relationships with local dementia support service providers are powerful enablers for early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, according to new research reported today at the Alzheimer’s Association 2009 International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease (ICAD 2009) in Vienna.
Current data suggest that less than 35 percent of people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias have a diagnosis in their medical record. While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, early detection is critical to ensuring that people have the power to plan their own healthcare and future, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
“Being diagnosed early is vital to receiving the best help and care possible, living one’s life to the fullest, and capitalizing on opportunities such as participating in clinical studies,” said William Thies, PhD, Chief Medical & Scientific Officer at the Alzheimer’s Association.
Dr. Nerida Paterson, Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of General Practice at the University of Newcastle, Australia, and colleagues are interviewing more than 100 general practitioners (GPs) from four Australian research sites. At ICAD 2009, Paterson reported an interim analysis including interviews with 25 GPs.
The most cited enabler to early Alzheimer’s diagnosis is a doctor’s positive attitude to the diagnosis and treatment of dementia. Most of the GPs reported that referral to local services for planning, education, and support is an important part of disease management. Additional factors that encourage early Alzheimer’s diagnosis include: support from relatives and caregivers, belief in the patient’s right to know, and the desire of GPs to be honest and open with their patients.
The studies reported at ICAD 2009 were:
— Nerida E. Paterson, et al – Early diagnosis of dementia in primary care in Australia: A qualitative study into the barriers and enablers.
— Nerida E. Paterson, et al – The barriers to the early diagnosis of dementia and diagnostic disclosure in primary care.
The 2009 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease (ICAD 2009) brings together more than 3,000 researchers from 70 countries to share groundbreaking research and information on the cause, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. ICAD 2009 will be held in Vienna, Austria at Messe Wien Exhibition and Congress Center from July 11–16.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. For more information, visit alz.org.