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AAIC: Most Adults Willing to Be Evaluated for Alzheimer's

People fear developing Alzheimer's disease, but willing to seek diagnosis if symptoms are present

WEDNESDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- More than 80 percent of adults indicate they would go to a doctor to seek a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) if they exhibited early symptoms, according to a study presented at the 2011 Alzheimer's Association International Conference, held from July 16 to 21 in Paris.

Jean Georges, from Alzheimer Europe in Luxembourg, and colleagues investigated the impact of attitudes, experiences, and beliefs concerning AD on seeking medical evaluation for individuals with early symptoms of AD. Data were collected by the Harvard School of Public Health and Alzheimer Europe from 2,678 adults, aged 18 years and older, from five countries via telephone interviews in February 2011.

The investigators found that, in each of the countries, more than eight out of 10 adults said that they would visit a doctor if they exhibited confusion or memory loss, to establish if the symptoms were due to AD. Between 54 and 77 percent of the adults said they had known someone with AD, and 13 to 27 percent reported being involved in decision making, financial support, or day-to-day care. Many respondents were worried that they or their family members would develop AD (43 to 95 percent), with considerable between-country differences. Most respondents believed that an effective treatment for AD was already available or would be in the next five years (52 to 71 percent), while between 38 and 59 percent believed a reliable test currently existed to determine if a person was in the early stages of the disease.

"If educational campaigns were undertaken to persuade the public to seek medical evaluations when they exhibited early symptoms of an illness that could be AD, a large proportion would likely do so," the authors write.

The study was supported by a grant to Alzheimer Europe from Bayer.

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