Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a condition that many are familiar with because of its overwhelming impact and prevalence in the world. In the US, it is the sixth leading cause of death, with women making up almost two-thirds of those with the disease. While it is just one of many types of dementia, Alzheimer’s accounts for up to 80 percent of cases.
In addition to Aphasia Awareness [see previous post], June is also Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. Led by the Alzheimer’s Association, the national observance is dedicated to increasing public awareness of AD through conversations among friends, families, and coworkers. The more people know about Alzheimer’s, the more action can be inspired in hopes of better treatments or a potential cure.
We included a story in the June issue of Brain in the News that highlights crucial factors for improving quality of life while facing dementia. The robust analysis was performed by researchers at University of Exeter in England and incorporated data from 198 studies and more than 37,000 people.
“While many investigations focus on prevention and better treatments, it’s equally vital that we understand how we can optimise quality of life for the 50 million people worldwide who have dementia,” said Linda Clare, director of the Centre for Research in Ageing and Cognitive Health (REACH), in the article.
The study, published in Psychological Medicine, found that maintaining good relationships with family and friends, being involved in social activities, managing everyday activities (e.g., household chores, walking the dog), and having religious beliefs are just some of the influences linked to better quality of life for people with dementia. These elements are believed to make a difference not only in treatment, but prevention as well. (Authors of last year’s Cerebrum article, “The Four Pillars of Alzheimer’s Prevention,” stated similar findings from a separate study.)
At the Dana Foundation, our mission to help educate the public about the brain is largely reflected in our global Brain Awareness Week campaign, which reached thousands of people in 43 countries this year. There are ways to support Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month as well, whether it’s by going purple, sharing your story with the disease, or simply using #ENDALZ or #EndAlzheimers on social. The Alzheimer’s Association will continue to share tips on Twitter on ways to take action throughout the month and even made a banner that is ready to share on Facebook.
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– Seimi Rurup