World Alzheimer's Day - Doctor Diagnoses Her Own Dementia

Image - World Alzheimer's Day - Doctor Diagnoses Her Own Dementia

HEIDI DOUGLASS | h.douglass@unsw.edu.au

Today is World Alzheimer’s Day.  With a person somewhere in the world developing dementia every 3 seconds, CHeBA’s Co-Directors Professor Perminder Sachdev and Professor Henry Brodaty encourage everyone to assist in the global effort to raise awareness and challenge stigma surrounding this insidious condition. 

Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) has today released its World Alzheimer’s Report 2018 featuring a UK based doctor who diagnosed her own dementia after being misdiagnosed by her neurologist.  Dr Jennifer Bute is now one of the 50 million people in the world with dementia; a figure expected to skyrocket to 152 million by 2050. 

“Dementia is not a normal part of ageing,” says Professor Perminder Sachdev AM.  “The key message of the 2018 Report is that the research effort needs a major boost.  ADI calls for 1% of the societal cost of dementia be devoted to funding research.  For Australia, a conservative estimate is $150 million per year for dementia research and the current funding is only a mere fraction of that.”

“The Report also highlights the criticality of the need for research to encompass diagnosis, cure and care,” says Professor Henry Brodaty AO.

Spokesman for CHeBA’s The Dementia Momentum initiative, Mr Richard Grellman AM, whose wife Suellen has advanced young onset Alzheimer’s disease, supports the need for increased investment into research and reminds us that the disease doesn’t just impact the individual. 

“Learning to walk this journey and share the sense of helplessness and frustration that comes from knowing there is no known cure has been extraordinarily challenging for me, our children, Suellen’s family and our close friends.  I feel it is important for us all to recognise that beyond the many lives that are upended, the global cost of dementia has this year made it a trillion-dollar disease; forecast to double by 2030.”

“Without significant contributions to research solutions are clearly unattainable and its impact on the economy will only increase.  Given it is the leading cause of death in the UK and Wales and the second leading cause of death in Australia it is unacceptable to realise that the global ratio of publications on neurodegenerative disorders compared to cancer is 1:12.  The answer to more of the world’s best minds coming up with the answers can only be increased funding for research,” said Mr Grellman.

Alzheimer’s Disease International CEO, Paola Barbarino, says that the World Alzheimer’s Report 2018 asks where we are now, why have there been no major breakthroughs in 20 years and what are the barriers to find solutions. 

“It looks at exciting new work in the field, the new frontiers of dementia research, and it underlines our vital call for increased dementia research funding,” says Ms Barbarino.

“Dementia is one of the most significant global health and social crises in the 21st century, yet too often diagnosis is made late.”

“Not enough people are getting into research on dementia and that needs to change.  We hope that the release of the World Alzheimer’s Report will increase awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and spark a debate which will lead to more governments and businesses dedicating funds and focus to help people with dementia and their families live better lives,” she said.

For more information about CHeBA’s research activities go to www.cheba.unsw.edu.au.

For more information about The Dementia Momentum go to https://cheba.unsw.edu.au/content/what-dementia-momentum

To make a tax deductible donation to CHeBA's research and help change the future of dementia please click here.

Date Published: 
Friday, 21 September 2018
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