We can find hope from these figures, believe it or not. Like any problem, until we know a problem exists and its full extent, it is impossible to find a solution. Only as recently as 1961, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed only 10% of doctors told their patient about a cancer diagnosis. That is unthinkable today. Yet by the following decade, changes began to take place as cancer was discussed openly. Fast forward to 2018 and around two thirds of people are successfully treated for cancer, when it is diagnosed early enough.
Unfortunately, we can’t say the same about Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. We are almost back in the 1960s with our unwillingness to talk about these neurodegenerative conditions. Therefore, there is now an overwhelming lack of understanding in the wider community. In fact, two out of three people around the world today believe there is little or no understanding of dementia in their country. We have to change this.
As our continuing success with cancer proves, it is vital that we rapidly accelerate change in all aspects of dementia. Its early diagnosis, treatment, care, prevention and of course ultimately, its cure. Only through continued discussion and being actively informed, can we increase community awareness. When we become dementia advocates, governments around the world will be driven to invest more funding for dementia research. Our awareness will then translate into action to help find solutions and support everyone living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. And this is where the idea for Decoding Alzheimer’s was born.