A Global Approach to Dementia: Filling the Knowledge Gap

Blog Post by Nisha Doshi, Editorial, Cambridge University Press

More than 35 million people worldwide will have dementia in 2010, and dementia prevalence will double every 20 years to more than 115 million in 2050, according to the 2009 World Alzheimer’s Report. In particular, the report showed that much of this increase will be attributable to low and middle income countries. The research predicted that 57.7% of people with dementia in 2010 live in low and middle income countries, but this percentage is expected to rise to 70.5% by 2050.

The report forecasts 117% growth in dementia in East Asia, 107% in South Asia, 134-146% in much of Latin America, and 125% in North Africa and the Middle East. In contrast, the figures are much lower for Europe (40%), North America (63%), the southern Latin American cone (77%) and developed Asia Pacific countries (89%). The report put forward 8 recommendations to the World Health Organization and national governments, including the following: • The World Health Organization (WHO) should declare dementia a world health priority. • National governments should declare dementia a health priority and develop national strategies to provide services and support for people with dementia and their families. • Create collaboration between governments, people with dementia, their carers and their Alzheimer associations, and other relevant Non-Governmental Organizations and professional healthcare bodies. • More research needs to be funded and conducted into the causes of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, pharmacological and psychosocial treatments, the prevalence and impact of dementia, and the prevention of dementia.

Despite the obvious need for urgent research addressing the causes, treatment, impact and prevention of dementia in low and middle income countries, the published literature is heavily dominated by research and perspectives from developed nations. In an attempt to redress this balance, Dementia: A Global Approach is a new resource which integrates contemporary cross-cultural knowledge about dementia. The editorial team includes Professor Martin Prince, Professor of Epidemiological Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, UK, and lead investigator for the 2009 World Alzheimer’s report, who is joined by Ennapadam Krishnamoorthy (Director and T. S. Srinivasan Chair, The Institute of Neurological Sciences, VHS Hospital, Chennai, India) and Professor Jeffrey Cummings (Augustus Rose Professor of Neurology, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and Director of the UCLA Alzheimer’s Disease Center).

With authors from across 5 continents, each section of the book reviews the literature from the published, predominantly Western, perspective, contrasting it with empirical knowledge from non-Western cultures. Covering major clinical, epidemiological and scientific areas of interest, detailed consideration is also given to care-giving models across the world and management of patients who have migrated between regions. Chapters also include a debate about whether or not vascular dementia is more common in particular parts of the world, discussion of the role of non-governmental organizations, and the work of the 10/66 Dementia Research Group.

Available from Autumn 2010, Dementia: A Global Approach, edited by Ennapadam S. Krishnamoorthy, Martin J. Prince and Jeffrey L. Cummings, is an exciting and much-needed contribution to the global framework for action on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

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One Response to A Global Approach to Dementia: Filling the Knowledge Gap

  1. Hungover Guy says:

    As much as I can understand right now, I think you’re right!

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