Alzheimer's Society stresses importance of diagnosis in response to new Panorama documentary

Our expert responds to a new BBC Panaroma documentary which focuses on new drugs that may change the future of Alzheimer's disease treatment.

Our Director of Research and Influencing has spoken about the need to focus on fixing dementia diagnosis, in light of a new BBC Panorama documentary that looks at potential new treatments for Alzheimer's disease, such as donanemab and lecanemab.

Panorama's Alzheimer's: A Turning Point to airs tonight (12 February at 8pm) and is already available to watch on BBC iPlayer. The programme follows patients with Alzheimer’s disease, who have been taking two new drugs that have been shown to slow down its progression, and asks if they could be a turning point in the treatment of the disease.

A 'defining moment'

Commenting on the programme, Fiona Carragher, Director of Research and Influencing at Alzheimer's Society, says:

“Dementia is the UK’s biggest killer and these first, ground-breaking new treatments are a defining moment in the fight against the devastation it causes.

“They bring hope that Alzheimer’s disease could one day be considered a long-term condition alongside diabetes or asthma, where people have treatments that allow them to effectively manage their symptoms and continue to live fulfilled lives."

Urgent need to 'fix dementia diagnosis'

Fiona adds: “But only a relatively small number of people will be able to access treatments if we don’t urgently fix dementia diagnosis and gear up the NHS to deliver them. 

"A third of people living with dementia in the UK do not have a diagnosis, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s disease are not diagnosed early enough to be eligible for these early-stage treatments.

“We need urgent NHS investment in diagnostic equipment and workforce skills so it’s ready to cope with a potential surge in demand for diagnosis and treatment, and can deliver these emerging new treatments, if they are approved by regulators.

New treatments offer real hope and will change how dementia is viewed by society and our healthcare system. With bold, urgent action from the Government and NHS we can transform the way it's diagnosed and treated."

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