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Experts Call for Widespread Use of Memory Screenings and Emphasize Value of Early Detection of Dementia
Date:11/5/2007

NEW YORK, Nov. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --- Top experts from the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) today called for more widespread utilization of memory screenings, especially in light of research indicating that cases of mild and moderate dementia are not recognized often enough and that early diagnosis can lead to appropriate treatment and other positive interventions.

Eric J. Hall, AFA's chief executive officer, and J. Wesson Ashford, M.D., Ph.D., senior research scientist at the Stanford/VA Aging Clinical Research Center, Palo Alto, CA and chairman of AFA's Memory Screening Advisory Board, made their remarks at a Congressional policy briefing in Washington, DC.

The issue was discussed as part of AFA's efforts during National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month in November to raise awareness of the importance of early detection. Other initiatives include AFA's annual National Memory Screening Day, which this year takes place on November 13 and involves a record number of screening sites from coast to coast.

"Time is of the essence in terms of making screenings more of the norm, especially as our population ages and the incidence of Alzheimer's disease escalates," Hall said. "We can't sit by any longer and watch waves of Americans being deprived of the care and support that can better their quality of life and that of their families."

The incidence of Alzheimer's disease, which leads to loss of memory and other cognitive functions, is expected to triple to 16 million in the United States by mid-century. Age is the greatest risk factor; other risk factors are family history, genetic makeup and co-existing medical conditions.

"The United States medical system is not properly equipped to deal with this problem and this needs to be remedied," Ashford said.

His recommendation: "Broad implementation of memory screening is highly cost-worthy now. Screening will lead to more diagnoses, which will advance the understan
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SOURCE Alzheimer's Foundation of America
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