Alzheimer Disease: Early Diagnosis

Posted by on Sep 8, 2010 in Health Signals |

Alzheimer Disease is the most common form of dementia, or cognitive impairment. According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, 290,000 Canadians over 65 have the disease. More than half of Canadians know someone with the disease and almost one in four have someone with the disease in their family. International researchers have made progress in developing diagnostic tools; however, prevention and treatment remain elusive. 

A few years ago excitement grew when it appeared that newly developed drugs might slow the progress of Alzheimer Disease. Many were encouraged when their family member returned to more independent functioning, and became more social again. However, these improvements turned out to be temporary. Eventually, the disease continued to progress.

Still, early diagnosis is helpful to both individuals and families. Individuals have the opportunity to express future wishes about care, and treatment options. They can write important documents such as power of attorney and personal health care directives.

The family can learn more about the disease, and prepare for the physical, emotional, and social changes that will occur as the disease progresses. 

In terms of treatment, individuals can enroll in programs to help retain mental functioning for as long as possible.

For more information on dementia and Alzheimer Disease, visit


Vol.3, No.1

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