Tabitha Gan underwent an internship at the Science Centre Singapore (SCS). She has written this blog post during her internship at SCS.
World Alzheimer’s Day is coming up on 21 September and its aim is to promote awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia.
For those unclear about exactly what Alzheimer’s disease is, it’s basically a disease that destroys neurons, the connections between them and disrupts brain activity. Sometimes people tend to assume the terms dementia and Alzheimer’s disease mean the same thing, but the two are conceptually different.
Dementia is an umbrella term that can be caused by multiple other disorders such as Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s is basically a specific form of dementia. The WHO defines dementia as “a syndrome in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities”.
Alzheimer’s is the most prevalent form of dementia and contributes to around 60%-70% of dementia cases- which is why sometimes the terms seem synonymous. Contrary to popular belief, Alzheimer’s is NOT a normal part of ageing and people with symptoms should be referred as soon as possible to a doctor for diagnosis and assessment.
A statistical report on the prevalence of dementia in the Asia-Pacific region (from the Alzheimer’s Disease Association, Singapore’s website) shows the projected estimates for Alzheimer’s in the next few years.
Despite the advances in technology over the past decade, scientists are still unable to determine the exact cause of Alzheimer’s, but are working on using microRNA to facilitate early detection and possibly treat Alzheimer’s.
As seen in the table above, dementia is expected to become more prevalent in Singapore over the next few years- signifying a growing need for awareness and medical facilities. To find out more information about the signs of Alzheimer’s and how to live with someone diagnosed with the disorder, click on the links below.
Want to learn more about the brain? Check out the Tuning in: Brain & Body exhibition in Hall F at Science Centre Singapore, where you can discover the wonderful workings of the most mysterious organ in the human body!