Most dementia cases go undetected: expert

A negligible number of people with dementia are diagnosed and treated though the prevalence of the condition is on the rise in States with large populations of the elderly.

“Around 90% of dementia cases are not treated,” said Sridhar Vaitheswaran, consultant psychiatrist and head of the dementia care centre at Schizophrenia Research Foundation, Chennai. He cited lack of awareness about the condition, marked by memory loss and impaired cognitive functions, for the poor rates of diagnosis and treatment.

He was speaking on the sidelines of an ongoing three-day international conference on Alzheimer’s disease organised by the Centre for Neuroscience, Cusat.

The conference was part of Udbodh, a campaign towards creating a dementia-friendly city. Most dementia care services were offered by the private sector, which was out of reach for people in poor socio-economic conditions, said Sanghamitra Acharya, professor, Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. Support networks and care services would have to be made more accessible considering 12% of the country's population was likely to be over 60 by 2021. The figure would be higher in Kerala, she said.

“Dementia is stigmatised and people with the condition are seen as disappearing rather than focusing on their abilities,” said Cathy Greenblat, professor emerita at Rutgers University, whose photographs from across the world of people thriving despite dementia was exhibited at the conference.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 2:27:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/most-dementia-cases-go-undetected-expert/article29861317.ece

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