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Over 90 percent of dementia cases in China are undetected
Date:7/24/2013

An international team of researchers has found that over 90 percent of dementia cases in China go undetected, with a high level of undiagnosed dementia in rural areas. The team of public health experts led by Dr Ruoling Chen at King's College London argues that more mental health education targeting high-risk populations is now needed to improve diagnosis rates, and increase support for sufferers and their families.

Dementia affects 10 million in China and up to 50 million worldwide, of which around 35 million sufferers are undiagnosed. Dementia causes deterioration in memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities. Although the condition mainly affects older people, it is not a normal part of ageing. Dementia is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide. Early diagnosis is crucial to alleviating the significant physical, psychological, social and economical impact the condition has on caregivers, families and society.

The new study, led by Dr Chen, a research leader in global health in the School of Medicine at King's, found that in China 93 percent of dementia cases in people aged 60 and over went undetected. The level of undetected dementia is much higher than has been seen in studies undertaken in high income countries, where about 60 percent of older adults with dementia are not diagnosed.

Published today in the British Journal of Psychiatry and funded by Alzheimer's Research UK and the BUPA Foundation, the large population based study is a collaboration between scientists at King's College London and other universities in the UK, and Anhui Medical University and five other medical universities in China. The study is the first to examine factors influencing the poor diagnosis of dementia in older people in low-income countries, where there are more dementia sufferers than in high-income countries.

Dr Chen and his team interviewed a random sam
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Contact: Katya Nasim
katya.nasim@kcl.ac.uk
44-207-848-3840
King's College London
Source:Eurekalert

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