Research & Medical Priorities
4. Although scientific progress and the growing awareness of the medical profession have improved the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, a significant number of people continue to be diagnosed at the moderate and late stages of the disease or even go undiagnosed. A recent survey showed that the delays from symptoms to diagnosis varied considerably between European countries ranging from 10 months in Germany to 32 months in the United Kingdom.
Alzheimer Europe calls upon national governments to make dementia a compulsory part of medical training and to raise the awareness of the medical profession about Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
5. Amongst the barriers to early diagnosis, carers cited the lack of recognition of the symptoms (70%), the lack of recognition of the severity of the symptoms (61%), the fact symptoms were perceived as normal part of ageing, but also denial and fear.
Alzheimer Europe calls upon the European Commission and national governments to support awareness campaigns targeted at the general public to improve the recognition of the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and to educate the general public that significant memory loss does not constitute a part of normal ageing. Such awareness campaigns should be conducted in close collaboration with Alzheimer associations and the medical profession. Private-public partnerships involving the pharmaceutical industry should be actively explored.
6. Current treatments for Alzheimer's disease do not cure or halt the disease. Nevertheless, the treatment of the symptoms results in significant improvements in the quality of life of people with dementia and in a reduction of the burden experienced by carers. In some European countries however, the cost-effectiveness of these drugs has been questioned and some of the existing drugs are not available under national reimbursement systems.
Alzheimer Europe calls upon national governments and regulatory authorities to continue to make available existing treatments under their reimbursement systems.
Alzheimer Europe calls upon the European institutions and the European Medicines Agency to support a survey on the existing inequalities of access of European citizens to available treatments for Alzheimer's disease.
7. Despite continued research into Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, the real causes of the disease remain unknown. Similarly, no treatments exist to cure or halt the disease.
Alzheimer Europe calls upon the European institutions to foster pan-European research into the causes, prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease in the framework of the 7th Community programme for research and development.
Alzheimer Europe calls upon national governments to increase the funding for Alzheimer's research and to actively support the collaboration of national research centres to foster the development of centres of excellence for specific research areas, as well as for rarer forms of dementia.
 David Wilkinson et al (2005), Inequalities in dementia care across Europe : an agenda for change, International Journal of Clinical Practice, March 2005, Vol. 59, Suppl. 146.
David Wilkinson et al (2005), op.cit.
 For a more detailed account of the effects of existing treatments, please consult : Alzheimer Europe (2005) : Alzheimer Europe response to the preliminary NICE recommendations available on www.alzheimer-europe.org .
Last Updated: mercredi 01 juillet 2009