NEW YORK, Sept. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Memory evaluations are critical to the early diagnosis and effective treatment of people with Alzheimer's disease, according to Dr. Gary Small, director of geriatric psychiatry at UCLA's Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.
While more than 5 million Americans currently have Alzheimer's disease, less than half are diagnosed1.
"A simple memory evaluation is a critical first step toward addressing dementia in its earliest stages," said Dr. Small, who is also a member of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America's medical and scientific advisory board. "Early assessment of memory and other cognitive abilities will identify people who may benefit from treatment. It is vital to treat Alzheimer's disease as early as possible because medicines that target the cholinergic system can have a very positive effect if administered early."
Axovant Sciences Ltd., as part of its commitment to dementia solutions, is working with the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) to optimize treatment for people with dementia. Part of that is communicating the importance of AFA's National Memory Screening Program.
A memory screening is recommended for2:
- Anyone concerned about memory loss
- Individuals experiencing the warning signs of dementia
- Individuals whose family and friends have noticed changes in cognitive abilities
- Individuals who believe they are at risk because of family history of Alzheimer's disease or related conditions
AFA provides free, confidential screening events at multiple locations across the country and a national toll-free helpline (866-232-8484) that is staffed solely by licensed social workers, who are trained to answer general questions about dementia, offer caregiving tips and strategies and provide referrals to local resources.
A memory screening consists of a series of questions and tasks designed to test memory, language skills, thinking ability and other cognitive functions. For more information on AFA's National Memory Screening Program, visit www.nationalmemoryscreening.org.
"We are pleased to help raise awareness of the services that AFA provides to people who are at risk for dementia," said Axovant Chief Development Officer Larry Friedhoff, M.D., PhD. "There are therapies currently available that can help if they are diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease."
"A memory screening can be a first step in identifying a memory issue and putting a person on the path to proper treatment," said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA's president and chief executive officer. "Early detection of memory issues can afford an individual the opportunity to participate in clinical trials or take advantage of medications that may help slow the progression of symptoms. It also can provide the chance for the individual to participate in important long-term care, legal and financial planning conversations and to ensure their wishes are set forth."
AFA, Dr. Small and other medical experts suggest that people make memory screenings a priority in September as part of World Alzheimer's Month.
Introduced as National Memory Screening Day, in 2003, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America's National Memory Screening program is now in its 13th year. Two and a half million people have been screened since the program's inception. J. Wesson Ashford, M.D., Ph.D., and clinical professor (affiliated) at the Stanford VA Aging Clinical Research Center, director of the War Related Illness and Injury Study Center at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System is chairman of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America's Memory Screening Advisory Board. He has done extensive research on brain health and cognitive screening and provides ongoing counsel to AFA in administering the program. AFA's National Memory Screening proved so popular that Foundation expanded screenings to year-round, with a particular emphasis on the month of November, which is Alzheimer's Awareness Month.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and loss of other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. It is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)3, Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
Axovant Sciences Ltd. (NYSE: AXON) is a leading clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on acquiring, developing and commercializing novel therapeutics for the treatment of dementia. Axovant intends to develop a pipeline of product candidates to comprehensively address the cognitive, behavioral and functional components of dementia and related neurological disorders. Axovant's vision is to become the leading company focused on the treatment of dementia by addressing all forms and aspects of the condition.
About Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA):
The Alzheimer's Foundation of America, based in New York, is a non-profit organization that unites more than 2,600 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals living with dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include a national, toll-free helpline (866-232-8484) staffed by licensed social workers, educational conferences and materials, a free quarterly magazine for caregivers, the National Memory Screening Program, and "AFA Partners in Care" dementia care training for healthcare professionals. For more information about AFA, call 866-232-8484, visit www.alzfdn.org, follow us on Twitter, or connect with us on Facebook or LinkedIn.
Alzheimer's Foundation of America
(866) 232-8484 x121
Head, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
1 Solomon PR, Murphy CA. Geriatrics 2005; 60:26–31
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SOURCE Axovant Sciences Ltd.; The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America