The University of Pennsylvania was the site for a Pennsylvania Alzheimer’s Disease Planning Committee hearing on Thursday, August 15. The committee heard more than 3 hours of testimony from politicians, researchers, caregivers, advocates, and others affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 50 percent to 70 percent of cases of dementia, said Steven Arnold, who directs the Penn Memory Center. Other common types are vascular, frontotemporal, and Lewy body dementia. People with Parkinson’s disease often develop a form of dementia. Arnold emphasized that a host of risk factors for dementia – poor education, head injuries, smoking, alcoholism, obesity, heart disease – are preventable and would be good targets for public health campaigns.
Jason Karlawish, Associate Director of the Penn Memory Center focused on the financial problems of older people with cognitive problems, since they are easy targets for fraud and abuse. He said that the state should strengthen laws meant to protect adults from exploitation and that the financial services industry knows it is on the “front lines” of identifying people with dementia. “They’re bothered about this and they want guidance,” he said.
Read the full Philadelphia Inquirer article here