Effect of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias on the World's Citizenry Part of New Report

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • Caregivers have a new and important ally with a global presence in the fight to create infrastructures that allow for appropriate treatment and care for our loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease.  The World Health Organization (WHO), which is the United Nations’ specialized agency for health, just released a new report, Neurological disorders: Public health challenges, which provides a strong wake-up call to policymakers to review policies related to those world citizen’s suffering from these types of disorders.


    WHO’s study stated that neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, affect up to one billion people worldwide and predicted that Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will be increasingly prevalent due to the world’s aging population. This report greatly increases an estimate made by WHO researchers six years ago, which stated that 450 million people were suffering from mental, neurological and behavioral problems

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    The new study, which looked at people in all countries around the world, notes that Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is second (24 million people) in being diagnosed in the world’s citizenry, which is only behind epilepsy (50 million people). The 232-page WHO report issued late last month also included strokes, epilepsy, headaches, brain injuries, neuroinfections, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson disease in the counts.

    The organization’s researchers estimated that 6.8 million people die every year as a result of neurological disorders. The global organization cautions that the impact of neurological disorders will increase in both developed and developing countries due to the growing number of people who will be 65 years and older.


    The new report was developed by WHO in partnership with key nongovernmental organizations in the field of neurological disorders and organizations caring for people affected by these conditions. Experts and reviewers from all regions of the world also contributed to the study.


    As a part of its study, WHO is advocating for the integration of neurological care into primary health care since this type of health care is the only type that many people are able to access. WHO also encourages community-based rehabilitation for those with neurological disorders.

               

    The report also calls for increased commitment from decisionmakers, increased social and professional awareness, strategies that address stigma and discrimination, national capacity building and international collaboration.

               

    I’ll be sharing more from WHO’s report in upcoming blogs, but wanted to get this important report on every caregiver’s radar-screen. It’s heartening to know that caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia across the globe may be getting additional support that they need in helping policymakers understand the implications that their decisions have on their citizens.


    For the press release:


    http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2007/pr04/en/index.html


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    For the full report:


    http://www.who.int/mental_health/neurology/neurological_disorders_report_web.pdf

Published On: March 14, 2007