A survey of 200 British doctors has found that only one in four doctors raised the matter with patients they suspected of having the early signs of dementia, and only one in four patients raised the possibility with their doctor soon after noticing signs of the disease.
In the other half of cases, after an average of seven and a half months, it was the patient who eventually initiated the conversation with their doctor.
Else Hoibratten, senior medical director at Lilly UK who completed the dementia survey, said “stigma” of dementia was what holds patients back.
More than 800,000 people in the UK are thought to have dementia and the majority of these have Alzheimer's disease.
These numbers are growing rapidly, making the search for treatments more urgent. However, on going trials are coming back with disappointing results.
This has encouraged fears that research companies are finding it too risky to put the time and money in to research for the drugs, when they have such disappointing results
Andrew Chidgey, Director of External Affairs for the Alzheimer's Society, comments:
Now is not the time to back away from dementia research. Despite costing the economy more than cancer and heart disease, funding for research into dementia is only a fraction of those conditions.
Currently there are 150 times more clinical trials focusing on treating people in the late stages of cancer than Alzheimer's disease.One in three people over the age of 65 will die with dementia. More funding for research is urgently needed if we are to defeat the condition once and for all.
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