Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 1st 2015 Contents A25
February 1, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
CHARLES KONG SOO
There are 7.7 million new cases
of dementia each year worldwide,
with a new case of dementia
occurring in some part of the
world every four seconds.
For 2014, there were an esti-
mated 52.1 million people with
dementia worldwide. This number
will increase to an estimated 75.6
million in 2030, and 135.5 million
Dr Jennifer Rouse, director of
the Division of Ageing, Ministry
of Social Development said at
present, the elderly population of
T&T stands at 13.4 per cent or
177,000 people who are over the
age of 65 years.
The figure comes from the Cen-
tral Statistical Office, 2011.
Geriatric pyschiatrist Dr James
Bratt said that there may be an
estimated 17,600 people with
dementia in T&T.
He said the Dementia Research
Group of T&T was currently doing
a prevalence study to estimate
numbers in a scientific manner,
but their results haven t been pub-
Speaking to the Sunday
Guardian, neuropsychologist Anal-
isa Wittet from Caribbean
MedPsych said there are many
people who go undiagnosed for
dementia in the country and it s
an area lacking in T&T.
"That is one of the main reasons
why we re working on trying to
make diagnosis as early as possi-
dementia...and Alzheimer s being
the main form of dementia in T&T
tend to be diagnosed quite late,
so when symptoms are quite
severe they have a major impact
on their functioning.
"At this state when they go to
their nuerologist and have MRI
and CT scans, the progression of
the disease can be seen on brain
She said there had been
advances in the early detection
and monitoring of dementia and
one of the best early detection
methods for dementia was a neu-
Wittet said this evaluation has
become standard in assessing
dementia across the United States
She said as the elderly popula-
tion around the world was
expanding due to better health
care and generally living longer,
more people were being diagnosed
with dementia or suffering from
some cause of the disease.
Wittet said in the US, Canada
and the UK, these neuropsycho-
logical assessments are standard.
She said when people go to their
primary care physician or neurol-
ogist and say that they re having
difficulties, they re almost auto-
matically referred for more in-
depth evaluation or functioning.
Wittet said neuropsychologists
were still trying to introduce that
practice to T&T and educate peo-
ple of the benefits of having a
comprehensive evaluation, espe-
cially in cases where they were
not quite sure if it was early onset,
to rule out or confirm whether
they have dementia.
She said while there were several
types of dementia, Alzheimer s
disease was the most common
form of dementia.
Wittet said dementia was the
decline in mental function but
was enough to affect daily life and
She said sometimes when peo-
ple are diagnosed with dementia
they don t truly understand what
their strengths and weaknessess
are and they just assume that the
diagnosis means the end of the
Dementia can affect
people in their 40s and 50s
Wittet said dementia mainly
affects older people, however some
people can develop symptoms
before the age of 65.
She said this was a small group
accounting for approximately five
per cent of the Alzheimer s pop-
She said in these cases people
can develop symptoms in their
40s and 50s.
Wittet said Caribbean
MedPsych tests their functioning,
pulls out their strengths and uses
them in the clinic s therapy and
treatment working to improve
their overall quality of life.
'Close to 18,000 people
living with dementia in T&T'
s s s s
Most people with dementia...and Alzheimer's being the main form of dementia in T&T tend to be diagnosed quite late, so
when symptoms are quite severe they have a major impact on their functioning.
"At this state when they go to their nuerologist and have MRI and CT scans, the progression of the disease can be seen on
Neuropsychologist Analisa Wittet from Caribbean MedPsych.
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Continues on Page A26
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