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Survey Reveals Widespread Lack of Communication With Doctors About Memory Concerns
Date:10/29/2007

Board and an associate professor in the Departments of Neurology, Pathology and Psychiatry at the University of Alabama (UAB) at Birmingham.

"This provides participants with an opportunity to identify either treatable causes of memory problems, such as vitamin deficiency or adverse medication reactions, or the opportunity to embark upon treatment involving medications for diseases like Alzheimer's disease. It also affords the opportunity to look for clinical trials that the National Institute on Aging is providing," he said.

Among the major findings, 73 percent of respondents indicated that they had concerns about their memory. However, while more than 80 percent had visited their primary care physician within the last six months, including 41 percent within the last month, fewer than 10 percent of those with self-identified memory problems had discussed the issue with the physician.

In addition, while more than half had spoken to their spouse or an adult child, almost one in five had not expressed their concerns to anyone.

Many individuals who underwent screenings noted that they have existing medical conditions: of the 963 respondents, 32 percent had diabetes, nearly 18 percent were obese, and almost 20 percent had depression.

"This suggests that many individuals who undergo screening may have risk factors for developing dementia," concluded Powers and Harvey Randall Griffith, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at UAB, who co-authored the survey summary.

The survey also found that about one-third of the respondents lived alone. "Recognition of cognitive impairment in individuals who reside alone is an important tool for preventing avoidable injuries or medication self-administration mistakes," the authors noted.

Further, 97 percent of individuals who were screened had not previously engaged in a memory screening, and 33 percent had never attended a health screening of any kind. The majorit
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SOURCE Alzheimer's Foundation of America
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