it has been a busy 50 years for dementia, a complicated voyage from obscurity and neglect towards recognition, knowledge and action. This commentary sets out that path through research, practice and policy to examine what we have achieved, where we are now and what more there is to be done.
the main themes identified were as follows:
- Public and professional understanding of dementia has changed fundamentally, from 13 papers on Alzheimer’s disease in 1972 to 17,356 in 2021, a 1,335-fold increase. Population health research has generated consensus about numbers and costs of dementia and its impacts on people with dementia and carers.
- A critical change has been recognition of dementia as a global phenomenon, not just a concern for high income countries.
- Sequential studies have generated evidence incidence rates may be declining in some high-income countries because of risk factor management. This suggests prevention of a sizeable proportion of dementia is not only possible but actually happening now.
- A core feature of the rise of dementia, has been the involvement from the start of family carers of people with dementia, and latterly people with dementia themselves.
- Underdiagnosis of dementia is an international problem. Accurate and timely diagnosis unlocks opportunities for treatment, care and support for people with dementia and carers. There have been advances in drug and non-drug treatments. The challenge is getting treatment and care we know work to those that need them.
we have made substantial advances in cause, cure, and care research and practice. Moving to deliver solutions to improve dementia care would be of major value to the whole health and care system.