Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dementia Worldwide Disability

The Center for Public Mental Health in London reported recently on a research study looking at various diseases which are contributors to chronic disability in the elderly. The research was sponsored in part by the World Health Organization and the study looked at more than 15,000 people in China, India, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico, and Peru. It had previously been thought that blindness, deafness, and heart disease were the major contributors to disability but this study found that dementia is "overwhelmingly and consistently the largest contributor to disability". Stroke and arthritis were the next other high ranking contributors.

The disability was determined using the 12 item World Health Organization disability assessment schedule. I have not seen that so am not really sure what that entails. Dementia, depression, hypertension, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were measured by clinical assessment but other diseases were determined by self report which the investigators acknowledge is a limitation of their study. The findings do remind us though of a significant impending problem as the incidence of dementia in the United States alone is estimated to triple by mid century.

I hope that we will have found ways by then to prevent dementia as enormous financial resources are required to care for individuals with dementia that as of now is not reversible.

Thought for the day

Show kindness to all as everyone you meet is fighting a battle of some kind.

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