Alzheimer's Stigma a Barrier to Prevention, Care: Survey

Alzheimer's Stigma a Barrier to Prevention, Care: Survey

Stigma surrounding Alzheimer's disease may discourage Americans from learning about their risk and from joining clinical trials for potential new treatments, a small survey reveals.

Mental Health Does Not Come With A Manual, It Comes With Friends & Family Support That Never Gives Up!
Join now

"We found that concerns about discrimination and overly harsh judgments about the severity of symptoms were most prevalent," lead researcher Shana Stites said in an Alzheimer's Association news release.

"By understanding what the biggest concerns are about the disease, we can help develop programs and policies to reduce the stigma," Stites added.

She is senior research investigator with the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine's Division of Medical Ethics.

Researchers gave a random sample of 317 adults a fictional description of a patient with mild cognitive impairment or dementia due to Alzheimer's. Respondents were told the patient's condition would worsen, improve or stay the same.

Fifty-five percent expected the patient would be discriminated against by employers and be excluded from medical decision-making. Forty-seven percent thought data in the patient's medical records, such as a brain image (46 percent) or genetic test result (45 percent), would lead to limits on his or her health insurance.

Those percentages rose when respondents were told that the patient's condition would worsen over time.

When they were told the patient would improve, 24 percent to 41 percent fewer respondents said they expected that discrimination or exclusion from medical decisions would result.

That suggests advances in therapies to improve the prognosis of Alzheimer's patients could help reduce stigma, according to the study authors.

"The unfortunate stigma associated with Alzheimer's may prevent people from getting the diagnosis they need or the opportunity for early intervention that could improve their quality of life," said Maria Carrillo, the association's chief science officer.

The Internet's Most Trusted Source For Mental Health Information
Sign up

"We need to reduce the stigma to encourage persons with mild or even no symptoms of Alzheimer's disease to enroll in prevention trials to find effective treatments. These survey findings could also have implications on the national goal of developing an effective therapy by 2025," Carrillo said.

The findings were published online March 27 in Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more on Alzheimer's disease.


Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Related Content

Freedom From OCD - Official Trailer
Freedom From OCD - Official Trailer

An original 6-episode series on obsessive-compulsive disorder, available instant...

Read more
A Young Mothers Addiction Led To Death & Her Obituary Struck An International Chord
A Young Mothers Addiction Led To Death & Her Obituary Struck An International Chord

Madelyn Ellen Linsenmeir died on Sunday, October 7. While her death was unexpect...

Read more
Why Are Children In Class Being Wrongly Labelled As Having ADHD So Frequently?
Why Are Children In Class Being Wrongly Labelled As Having ADHD So Frequently?

Parents worried about their child falling behind academically because they are b...

Read more
The Real Causes Of Anxiety & Depression Might Not Be What You Think
The Real Causes Of Anxiety & Depression Might Not Be What You Think

Across the Western world today, if you are depressed or anxious and you go to yo...

Read more
Companies Are Opening Their Doors To Talent With Autism
Companies Are Opening Their Doors To Talent With Autism

Twenty-seven-year-old Christopher Pauley thought he had it all figured out when ...

Read more
Bipolar 1 & Bipolar 2, What’s The Difference?
Bipolar 1 & Bipolar 2, What’s The Difference?

If you think bipolar disorder describes a mental health condition that can cause...

Read more