Social Networking One of a Few Factors That Can Delay Onset of Dementia
8th Oct 2012
Social networking including common use of Skype and Facebook as well as frequent conversations with friends can help delay the onset of dementia. A major educational symposium on Dementia at Blackrock Clinic heard at the weekend that cognitive training which includes doing crosswords and sudoku as well as simple physical training like walking can also be of great assistance in delaying the onset of the disease that has a mortality statistic of 100% and there will be a major rise in the number of dementia cases which will put new pressures on the Irish Healthcare system in the coming decades, according to Dr Lorraine Wilson Head of Nuclear Medicine and PET/CT at Blackrock Clinic. Dr Wilson, who chaired the symposium on Dementia at Blackrock Clinic pointed out that an increase in diagnosed and undiagnosed dementia is to be expected and is a reflection of an ageing society. Because medicines and medical procedures are becoming more advanced, people are living longer due to higher survival rates from cancer, strokes and heart attacks. As a result it is expected that dementia will become much more prevalent as people increasingly live into their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
“Early and accurate diagnosis is critical to best practice in Dementia care. Dementia can present in a very diverse range of ways and in early stages may even be misdiagnosed as depression. I have often had very reasonable conversations with patients who have clear signs of Dementia on their PET-CT scan. The earlier the diagnosis is made the better, as it not only allows patients to make plans for their future but also ensures better management of their condition. PET-CT can make a significant contribution to diagnosis”.
Government statistics estimate at least 41,000 cases of dementia in Ireland today with an annual cost of about €1.69bn to society (€40,500 cost per patient). Almost half of this cost is borne by the patient and family, in part attributable to lost income opportunity. The highest prevalence of dementia in Ireland is in the Counties of Roscommon, Mayo, Galway and Sligo where the oldest population live in the country and this differs from North Dublin where the youngest population live.