National Alzheimer's plan, more testing

Oct. 31, 2011 at 11:25 PM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- A U.S. non-profit is urging a study into an increase in Alzheimer's disease, to try to learn why doctors do not diagnose about half of dementia cases.

Officials of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America urged that current efforts to craft a national plan to defeat Alzheimer's disease include beefed-up efforts toward early detection.

"Our nation needs to get this disease under control. A big part of that is talking about memory concerns in the first place," Eric J. Hall, president of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, who also serves on the new Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care and Services, established by the National Alzheimer's Disease Project Act to advise on the national plan. "Only from there can people move on to get a proper diagnosis, treatment and support, as well as plan for the future."

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America is encouraging Americans to take their own steps to be proactive about their health by taking advantage of free memory screenings during its National Memory Screening Day Nov. 15.

The event will involve about 2,500 sites that will provide confidential memory screenings and distribute information about memory problems at Alzheimer's agencies, hospitals, senior centers, libraries and the entire chain of Kmart pharmacies nationwide, Hall said.

During National Memory Screening Day, qualified healthcare professionals administer face-to-face screenings, which take 5 to 10 minutes and consist of a series of questions and tasks.

Warning signs of Alzheimer's disease include: forgetting names and events, asking repetitive questions, loss of verbal or written skills and confusion over daily routines, Hall said.

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