*The translation of this article in French, Spanish, and German has been made through machine translation and has not been edited yet. we apologise for any inaccuracies.
Someone in the world develops dementia every 3 seconds.
If you don´t already know someone who lives with Alzheimer´s disease and dementia, you are most likely to know someone who will develop it at a later stage of their life. Although there is still no cure for Alzheimer´s disease and dementia, we can change our lifestyle for better brain health to lower the risks and prevent brain disease from developing.
According to Alzheimer´ Disease International, there were over 55 million people living with dementia worldwide in 2020. About 6 percent of people 65 and older are affected and someone in the world develops dementia every 3 seconds. Furthermore, the University of Washington School of Medicine reported at AAIC 2021 that they estimate the number of people with dementia will nearly triple to more than 152 million by 2050.
This is indeed alarming. The scariest things about Alzheimer´s disease and dementia are that the exact cause is not yet fully understood and there is no cure. But since 1906, when Alzheimer´s was first discovered, researchers have been able to gather extensive knowledge about how the brain reacts to the brain disease and what we can do to prevent and slow down the progress of Alzheimer´s and dementia by changing our lifestyle and improve our brain health.
Every year June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month when people, companies, and organizations around the world put effort into educating people about the brain disease and raising funds to contribute to Alzheimer’s groups and dementia research projects.
Following this important initiative, M3 Global Research conducted two different online surveys in June about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with our M3 Panel; one for healthcare professionals and one for the general public/ patients. As living with Alzheimer’s or treating and caring for someone living with this brain disease can be very challenging, we wanted to find out how healthcare professionals and patients are dealing with this brain disease by asking our global M3 Panel the below questions about brain health and patient care.
What activities do you do to keep your brain engaged, and your body healthy and active?
Respondents: 697 people from the global M3 Panel for patients
For Healthcare professionals: M3 Pulse Survey about Alzheimer’s treatments and patient care
Do you feel prepared and comfortable treating patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s and what can be done to improve the care for patients living with these brain diseases?
Respondents: 1608 healthcare professionals from the global M3 Panel
Before looking into the results, let´s check out the differences and definitions of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Below you can also find 6 lifestyle tips for better brain health.
What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia?
What is Dementia?
Dementia is not a specific brain disease, but an umbrella term that describes a wide range of symptoms that develops when someone loses their cognitive functioning such as thinking, remembering, reasoning, and problem-solving. There are several forms of dementia, including Alzheimer´s disease, which is the most common type of dementia.
What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that is caused by damage to neurons (nerve cells) in the brain that are responsible for cognitive functioning. When these neurons get damaged, it causes the individual to have difficulties remembering, thinking clearly, making decisions, and eventually speaking and functioning properly. Alzheimer´s is a progressive disease that can take decades before any symptoms develop and they get worse over time.
If you want more in-depth knowledge about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, we recommend you to read the 2022 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.
6 lifestyle tips for better brain health to lower risks of Alzheimer´s disease and dementia
Although there is no cure for Alzheimer´s disease and dementia yet, researchers have found that a healthy lifestyle is the best way lower the risk and prevent the disease from developing and progressing. So, what are the lifestyle choices we can make to improve our brain health to lower the risks of Alzheimer´s disease and dementia?
According to Alzheimer’s Society, these are the best 6 brain health tips:
Check out the tips in more detail here.
What do our global M3 Panel say about brain health and treating Alzheimer´s disease and dementia?
M3 One Question Poll for patients – June 2022 results about brain health for Alzheimer´s disease and dementia
Out of all the respondents, 58% said that they keep their alcohol intake to a minimum to prevent brain disease. 56% don’t smoke or have never smoked. A high proportion of respondents also said that they eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. 12% learn a foreign language and 10% play a musical instrument. A total of 42% encourage their family and friends to stay fit, healthy, and engaged in social activities. 31% regularly discuss ways to have a balanced lifestyle with their doctor and try to be more healthy in the future.
Other answers to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia, included keeping fit in various ways, taking part in online quizzes, doing puzzles, cross-stitching, or listening to music which they believe relieves their stress. Respondents also looked after loved ones already affected by these brain diseases.
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M3 Pulse – June 2022 results about treating patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
This can be a real challenge, as the majority of physicians and other healthcare professionals are not trained for the specific patient care that is required when dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients unless they are specialised in this area.
To better understand how healthcare professionals around the world feel about this challenge, we asked if they feel prepared and comfortable treating and caring for patients with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. We also asked for their opinions about how patient care for people with these brain diseases can be improved.
40% of the asked healthcare professionals report feeling prepared to treat patients with dementia, whereas 37% feel somewhat prepared to treat patients with dementia. 20% feel like they are not yet prepared to treat patients with this brain disease.
The top three things that healthcare professionals think can be done to prevent mental disease or to improve patient care for people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia are:
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Although Alzheimer’s and dementia can be scary and overwhelming to deal with, we shall not forget that it is still possible to live with this brain disease and the medical science community is working hard to improve our understanding of it and develop treatments. As Lisa Genova said so well at the end of her TED Talk about preventing Alzheimer’s:
As a healthcare professional, you can read more about our latest M3 Pulse results about Virtual Clinical Trials here
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