As the population ages, so too does the incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease—a condition that massage therapists who specialize in geriatric massage see frequently in their clients.

A new report shows there are interventions that are effective in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, some of which may be more effective when started earlier, and that there is a strong economic argument in favor of earlier diagnosis and timely intervention.

The World Alzheimer’s Report 2011, The Benefits of Early Diagnosis and Intervention, was released by Alzheimer’s Disease International.

The report reveals:

• As many as three-quarters of the estimated 36 million people worldwide living with dementia have not been diagnosed and so cannot benefit from treatment, information and care.

• In high-income countries, only 20-50 percent of dementia cases are recognized and documented in primary care. In low- and middle-income countries, this proportion could be as low as 10 percent.

• Failure to diagnose often results from the false belief that dementia is a normal part of aging, and that nothing can be done to help. On the contrary, the new report finds that interventions can make a difference, even in the early stages of the illness.

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