Vol. 5 nº 2 - Apr/May/Jun de 2011
Original Article Páginas: 108 a 113

Worries about memory loss and knowledge on Alzheimer's disease in community-dwelling elderly from Brazil

Authors Maria Niures P.S. Matioli1; Arnaldo Etzel2; João A.G.G. Prats3; Wares F. de O. Medeiros3; Taiguara R. Monteiro3; Alberto de M. Soares1


keywords: Alzheimer's disease, dementia, epidemiological studies.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia in the elderly. Efforts to determine risk factors for the development of AD are important for risk stratification and early diagnosis. Furthermore, there are no standardized practices for memory screening. Lack of knowledge on AD, perception of memory loss as part of normal aging, and poor socioeconomic conditions may also be implicated in the current situation of dementia. Objective: To evaluate knowledge of AD in a literate population of elders and correlate these findings with sociodemographic characteristics. Methods: A descriptive survey design study enrolled 994 volunteers from September 2007 to May 2008 in the city of Santos, São Paulo, Brazil, to answer a brief questionnaire consisting of 8 simple questions about knowledge of AD and worries about memory loss. Results: Greater knowledge about AD was associated with eight or more years of education, female gender and age between 60 and 70 years. Also, 52.8% of responders (95% CI - 49.5-56.0%) answered that memory loss is part of normal aging and 77.5% (95% CI - 74.7-80.1%) had never sought a doctor to evaluate their memories. Conclusion: Our study results reinforced that the first line of preventing late diagnosis of dementia is to act in health promotion, especially by targeting subjects older than 70 years of male gender and with lower educational level. It also provided evidence that strategies to promote physician initiative in treating memory problems are also paramount.


Home Contact