Alzheimer’s treat­ment call as death rates rise

Evening Times - - NEWS - By TOM TORRANCE

DEATHS from Alzheimer’s dis­ease have risen by a third in the last year, with cam­paign­ers warn­ing the “alarm­ing” in­crease is plac­ing a “heavy strain” on the NHS and care ser­vices.

A to­tal of 570 deaths from the dis­ease were recorded in the pe­riod March to June 2017, new data from the Na­tional Records of Scot­land showed, a rise of 33.4% the same pe­riod last year and more than dou­ble the 257 deaths that oc­curred in the same three months of in 2014.

A fur­ther 936 deaths in Scot­land were a re­sult of de­men­tia, the fig­ures showed, with this hav­ing in­creased by 16.9% over the year - although this was said in part to be due to changes in the cause of death cod­ing soft­ware.

Mean­while deaths from coro­nary heart dis­ease fell by 5.3% to 1,590 in the sec­ond quar­ter of 2017, and there was also a slight de­crease in can­cer deaths, which were down 0.8% to 3,831

The lat­est NRS quar­terly re­port on births, deaths and mar­riages stated: “There has been a rel­a­tively large in­crease in the num­ber of deaths from de­men­tia and Alzheimer’s dis­ease with such deaths now ac­count­ing for around 10% of all deaths com- pared to 5% a decade ago.”

Dr Matthew Nor­ton, di­rec­tor of pol­icy at Alzheimer’s Re­search UK, said: “Alarm­ing as this re­port is, we can­not hide away from the re­al­ity these sta­tis­tics rep­re­sent: the dev­as­tat­ing im­pact of de­men­tia across Scot­land.

“Part of the in­crease has been driven by changes in the way death records are rep­re­sented in of­fi­cial sta­tis­tics, but this does not fully ac­count for the size of the in­crease and we must face up to the fact that de­men­tia is set to be­come the UK’s big­gest killer as our pop­u­la­tion ages.”

He added: “While age is the big­gest risk fac­tor for the con­di­tion, de­men­tia is not an in­evitable part of age­ing. The only way to stop de­men­tia from be­ing a death sen­tence in fu­ture is through the power of re­search.

“At Alzheimer’s Re­search UK, we have set our­selves the mis­sion of bring­ing about a life-chang­ing treat­ment for de­men­tia by 2025.

“An ef­fec­tive treat­ment would not only make a huge dif­fer­ence to peo­ple af­fected by de­men­tia, but would re­duce the heavy strain the con­di­tion is plac­ing on our health and so­cial care sys­tem, help­ing more peo­ple to stay health­ier for longer.”

The Evening Times has launched a year-long cam­paign to raise aware­ness about de­men­tia, which is pre­dicted will af­fect one in three of the pop­u­la­tion in fu­ture decades.

A to­tal of 570 deaths from the dis­ease were recorded in the pe­riod March to June 2017

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