A UK based doctor who diagnosed her own dementia after being misdiagnosed by her neurologist, is calling for an urgent response to dementia research and diagnosis.
Dr Jennifer Bute is now one of the 50 million people in the world with dementia. That figure is expected to skyrocket to 132 million by 2050.
On realising something was wrong, Dr Butte said: “At first it was passwords, I just couldn’t remember passwords and names. The first neurologist wouldn’t even do any tests, he said there’s nothing the matter with you. Soon after, I wouldn’t recognise people I had known for 20 years, then I started getting lost along familiar routes. That was kind of how it all started.”
To coincide with today, 21 September, World Alzheimer’s Day, Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) is releasing its World Alzheimer Report 2018. Featured in the report, Dr Bute calls for greater exposure and understanding of dementia, saying:
When I was working as a doctor, very little was actually done proactively about dementia. My hope is that the World Alzheimer Report 2018 brings much needed exposure, attention and funding to what is now a global health crisis
ADI CEO Paola Barbarino believes that one per cent of the societal cost of dementia should be devoted to funding dementia research, saying:
“ADI is very proud to release this much needed World Alzheimer Report 2018 – The State of the art of dementia research. This report asks where we are now, why have there been no major breakthroughs in 20 years and what are the barriers to find solutions. It looks at exciting new work in the field, the new frontiers of dementia research, and it underlines our vital call for increased dementia research funding.
Dementia is one of the most significant global health and social crises in the 21st century, yet too often diagnosis is made late. There is also no cure for dementia, it’s the 7th leading cause of death worldwide.
“Without significant investments into dementia research, we will be unable to venture into new frontiers. The global ratio of publications on neurodegenerative disorders compared to cancer is an astonishing 1:12. Not enough people are getting into research on dementia, and that needs to change.
“We hope that the release of the World Alzheimer Report will increase awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and spark a debate which will lead to more governments and businesses dedicating funds and focus to help people with dementia and their families live better lives.”
The World Alzheimer Report 2018 features some of the best and most illustrious minds in Alzheimer’s and dementia research globally, including:
- Alireza Atri, an internationally renowned cognitive neurologist and Senior Scientist in the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative at Banner Sun Health Research Institute, who is so obsessed with his mission that his car registration number is CUREAD.
- Professor Bart de Strooper, Director of the UK Dementia Research Institute, who won the 2017 European Grand Prize for Alzheimer Research, and was co-winner, with the neurologist John Hardy, of the 2018 Brain Prize. His work has focused on understanding the fundamental mechanisms that underlie Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
- Professor Gordon Wilcock, co-founder of UK’s Alzheimer’s Society and the country’s first multi-disciplinary memory clinic. For seven years, he led the OPTIMA study, the Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing, which was one of the first studies to shatter the myth that dementia was a normal part of ageing.
- Jeff Cummings, Director of the Cleveland Clinic at the Lou Ruvo Centre for Brain Health in Las Vega who wrote a paper in the journal Alzheimer’s Research Therapy looking at clinical trials into Alzheimer’s disease drug development from 2002 to 2012. The failure rate, he concluded, was 99.6%.
- Kate Bingham, Managing Partner at SV Health Managers who helped establish the Dementia Discovery Fund for strategic investments into dementia-related drugs and therapies. She has brought neuroscientists from different backgrounds into the team and wants to pursue areas like inflammation, bio- energetics, the immune system and possibly the gut.
- Dr Kenji Toba, President of the National Centre for Geriatrics and Gerontology in Obu, in Japan. The centre is one of six national centres for advanced and specialized medicine in Japan. He is a pioneer of dementia friendly initiatives.
- Professor Adesola Ogunniyi, Professor of Medicine at University College Hospital, Ibadan. He is involved in projects such as the IDEA group (Identification and Intervention for Dementia in Elderly Africans) and has developed cognitive stimulation therapies specific to the Nigerian context.