Swati Shinde, TNN 11 October 2009, 03:48am IST
PUNE: In view of the magnitude of the occurrence of dementia as well
as Alzheimer's disease among the elderly population, the International
Longevity Centre-India (ILC-I) has take up a major study to identify
behavioural markers of dementia in older persons in the city.
The aim of the study is to help revert dementia and to rehabilitate
the patient and absorb him/her in the social mainstream. The ILC-I
will identify 1,000 cases in the city and 200 identified cases of
Alzheimer's patients from hospitals, clinics and old age homes for the
Speaking on the conduct of the study, S D Gokhale, honorary president,
ILC-I, said, "Presently, there is no test to define dementia or
Alzheimer's disease. Hence, through this study, we are trying to find
out if there are any behavioural markers to identify these
The centre will approach senior citizens clubs and old age homes in
and around the city requesting the authorities to send the names of
the elderly people who are willing to volunteer to answer this test.
On receiving the replies, and after decoding and tabulating, the
centre will classify gender differences and rural-urban differences
according to the age brackets as suggested by the United Nations.
"Ageing is a major challenge in the century. As longevity increases,
issues like dementia and Alzheimer's disease take a prominent place in
the lives of some of the elderly. These conditions are growing fast in
India and soon it will be a pandemic-like situation. We need to start
working on solutions to prepare for the future," Gokhale said.
According to Gokhale, Martin Roth, an US gerontologist has stated that
Alzheimer's has a prevalence rate of 6.2% with an average annual
incidence of 1.4%. It was found that it was 2.3% for the age group
65-70 years, 3.9% in the age group 70-80 years and 22% in the age
group 80 years and above.
According to Anjali Raje, deputy executive director, ILC-I, "With the
changes in the population pyramid, the rapidly increasing incidences
of dementia can be termed as an approaching epidemic'. At present, it
is reported that there are 4.5 million cases of Alzheimer's in the US
and the present rough estimate of the number of patients with
Alzheimer's in India is around 4 million."
She added: "It is also observed that the incidences of women suffering
from Alzheimer's is 2 to 3 times higher than men. At present, there is
no treatment that can completely cure Alzheimer's."
The ILC-I will use social work techniques, in addition to the medical
technology, to find out if it is possible to prevent, revert and
rehabilitate the persons suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's.
Source: Toi 11/10/09