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Up to 27 million people living with undiagnosed dementia worldwide, says report

Published 13 September 2011

Three-quarters of the estimated 36 million people with dementia worldwide do not have a formal diagnosis, according to a major new report published today (Tuesday, 13 September).

The World Alzheimer Report 2011, 'The benefits of early diagnosis and intervention', commissioned by Alzheimer's Disease International estimates that early diagnosis could create savings of up to US$10,000 (£6,254) per person. It suggests this could be achieved in various ways, including providing Alzheimer's drugs and support for carers earlier, delaying the need for people to go into hospitals or care homes. The report makes recommendations including every country having a national dementia strategy promoting early diagnosis, and to increase investment in research. This is the first comprehensive review of all worldwide evidence on early diagnosis and intervention for dementia.

Thousands of people will take to the streets this weekend to mark World Alzheimer's Day on Wednesday, 21 September. Alzheimer's Society Memory Walks will bring together celebrities and families around the country to walk in memory of loved ones.

Alzheimer's Society comment:

'In the UK right now 60 per cent of people with dementia are struggling in the dark with no formal diagnosis. These people must be helped. Empowered with an early diagnosis, they can benefit from potential treatments and support which could vastly improve their quality of life.

'Today's report must rouse us to take decisive action now and transform diagnosis rates everywhere. Alzheimer's Society urges people to visit their GP if they are worried about their memory, and is also working with GPs to increase awareness and understanding of dementia.'

Jeremy Hughes
Chief Executive
Alzheimer's Society

Research Reference: The World Alzheimer Report 2011, 'The benefits of early diagnosis and intervention', Prince et al, available at www.alz.co.uk/worldreport2011