LAHORE - Speakers at a seminar have stressed the need of raising awareness about dementia, benefits of early diagnosis and treatment and counselling of family members of patients.

Alzheimer’s Pakistan arranged the seminar in collaboration with King Edward Medical University at Patiala Block on Thursday to mark Alzheimer’s Month. Minister for Health Dr Yasmin Rashid was the chief guest at the event attended by faculty, administrative doctors, nurses and medical students.

Every three seconds, someone in the world develops dementia. The number of people living with dementia (PWD) around the world is expected to almost double every 20 years, reaching 152 million by 2050, if effective risk-reduction strategies are not implemented worldwide. Dementia mainly affects people over the age of 65 years.

Dementia is a collective name for progressive degenerative brain syndromes which affect memory, thinking, behavior and emotion. The chemistry of the brain changes and cells, nerves and transmitters are attacked. Eventually the brain shrinks as gaps develop. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia.

September marks the global World Alzheimer’s Month, an international campaign to raise awareness and challenge stigma.

Addressing the seminar, Dr Yasmin Rashid said that there was need of initiating healthcare services for the elderly. She said that for the first time in the country, the Punjab government was starting services for elderly people. She said that the government would soon announce dementia plan. Under this plan, a range of services shall be provided such as hospital based memory clinics, resource mobilization for early diagnosis & treatment, counselling services for caregivers and mass awareness.