Six million Chinese suffering from Alzheimer's disease: survey

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A recent survey reported in Tuesday’s China Youth Daily shows that nearly six million Chinese are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

The survey, which was conducted by the Peking Union Medical College Hospital, revealed that about five percent of Chinese aged over 65 have the disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that gradually destroys a person’s memory and ability to learn, reason, make judgments, communicate and carry out daily activities.

As the disease progresses, individuals may also experience changes in personality and behavior, such as anxiety, suspiciousness or agitation, as well as delusions or hallucinations.

Prof. Zhang Zhenxin from Peking Union Medical College Hospital, who led the survey, pointed out to a research finding that only 23.3 percent of China’s AD patients seek medical advice and only 21.3 percent receive medical treatment.

Public ignorance of the disease is another obstacle.

Zhang said that about 48.8 percent of the interviewees believed that the disease is a normal part of aging and nearly 96 percent of the people who take care of AD patients had not received standard training.

The disease usually begins after age 60, and the risk rises with age. While younger people may also get AD, it is much less common.

Zhang, also head of the hospital’s clinical epidemiology department, said that even though scientists do not yet fully understand what causes AD, the disease is clearly not a normal part of aging.

The survey, which lasted more than six years, covered samples in four Chinese municipalities of Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai and Chengdu.

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s. Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan died with the disease.

Sept. 21 is the international day for Alzheimer’s disease.

Source: Xinhua

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