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Few of city's 300,000 Alzheimer's sufferers get treatment, aging symposium told

AT least 300,000 people in the city suffer from Alzheimer's disease but most never get treatment due to poor awareness, experts said at today's launch of the International Symposium on Aging and Medicine in Shanghai.

Early detection and early intervention can delay the development of the disease and reduce its seriousness, they said.

Over 250 professionals from 10 countries and regions participated in the meeting to discuss the latest research on age-related diseases and the development of geriatric medicine. Neural diseases, cardiovascular diseases, immunity and traditional Chinese medicine in elderly care were among the prime topics.

So far, there is no medicine to cure Alzheimer's disease, but early intervention is useful.

"The public should be alert of the disease, especially those with a family history," said Dr Bao Zhijun, vice president of Huadong Hospital. "Proper social activities after being retired and frequent use of the mind like reading, studying and music learning are all good for the brain. Elaborate finger movements, especially on the left hand, have positive effects on the brain."

Symptoms like forgetting recent things and a sudden change of personality could be signs of Alzheimer's disease, and people should go to the hospital for diagnosis and treatment, experts said.

Some 700 million people in the world are over 60 years old, a number that is projected to rise to 2 billion in just 11 years, covering over 20 percent of the total population. China has more than 200 million elderly people, whose numbers will double by 2050. Over 27 percent of the registered people in Shanghai are over 60 years old.

With the rapidly aging population, medical experts are searching hard for answers to Alzheimer’s and other diseases of aging.


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