Vol. 2 nº 3 - Jul/Aug/Set de 2008
Original Article Páginas: 192 a 196

Public awareness of Dementia: a study in Botucatu, middle size city in the state of São Paulo, Brazil

Authors Arthur Oscar Schelp1, Andrea Bruno Nieri1, Pedro Tadao Hamamoto Filho2, Alessandra Martins Bales2, Cristiane Lara Mendes-Chiloff3

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keywords: dementia, Alzheimer's disease, elderly population, public awareness.

ABSTRACT:
Dementia is a progressive and debilitating disease affecting an increasing number of people worldwide. Despite its importance, only a few studies have examined public awareness of dementia. We present a study of the public awareness of dementia in Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil. Methods: A sample of 73 individuals answered a questionnaire approved by the Medical Ethics Research Committee inquiring about the characteristics of healthy old-aged and demented individuals. Results: Those interviewed believed that dementia is characterized by prevalent memory impairment (41%) and behavioral changes (32.9%) with onset in the 60's or older (42.5%) and upon suspecting dementia, only a few would seek specialized medical help. Discussion: Better understanding of public awareness of dementia provides the clue to more effective health and social policies in order to achieve a higher rate of early diagnosis and thereby possibly decreasing patient, family and caregiver distress.

 

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