Every three seconds, someone in the world develops dementia. That's how common the degenerative memory disorder is, affecting 50 million people globally.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for six to seven of every ten cases.
Yet, there's no cure for the condition, which not only damages people's memories and ability to look after themselves but is also overwhelming for their loved ones and their carers.
This year has been especially challenging for Alzheimer's patients as COVID-19 has severely compromised the capacity to provide the care and support that they need.
September is World Alzheimer's Month and today we discuss how people with Alzheimer's have been affected by the pandemic and what support they critically need.
We speak with Sharon J. Sha, Clinical Associate Professor in Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford Center for Memory Disorders.
We also connect with Carole Cox, Professor at the Graduate School of Social Service at Fordham University.
1. Sharon: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected people suffering from Alzheimer's disease? Why have there been so many fatalities among patients amid this pandemic have there been significant links?
2. Carole: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected people suffering from Alzheimer's disease disproportionately?
3. Sharon: Some researchers have found people with particular gene variants are at greater risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, as well as COVID-19. Are Alzheimer's patients more susceptible?
4. Carole: What have been the challenges this year for carers of patients with Alzheimer's disease?
5. Sharon: Studies are showing the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular risk factors of COVID-19. Can contracting the virus worsen dementia or the chance of developing the condition?
6. Here in South Korea, related deaths have shot up 250 percent in the last ten years.There currently is no cure for Alzheimer's, and early diagnosis is essential. In that regard, can technologies like genotyping help? Also, you are developing a treatment based on plasma. How would this work and what are the challenges you are facing?
7. How should the government increase support for care homes and patients?
8. How can friends, families and members of society support patients with Alzheimer's disease during this challenge time, where social distancing is necessary?
9. What are some ways national health care systems can help prevent or manage the disease better than they are now?
That was Sharon J. Sha, Clinical Associate Professor in Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford Center for Memory Disorders and Carole Cox, Professor at the Graduate School of Social Service at Fordham University.