Most Patients with Dementia are Curable

Dr Vernon Coleman - MB ChB DSc  

The diagnosis, treatment and reporting of dementia is a massive and previously unrecognised scandal. The staggering fact is that most cases of dementia could probably be cured in a week or two – maybe a little longer with some patients. In my view, anyone who says otherwise is either woefully misinformed or a drug company mouthpiece.

Around the world there are estimated to be around 50 million people suffering from dementia – though this figure is probably on the low side. One half of all the patients admitted to nursing homes are said to be suffering from dementia of one sort or another.

Millions of patients who have been diagnosed with dementia are being looked after by their families. Many family members have had to abandon their jobs and their normal lives in order to find the necessary time to provide care for their loved ones. Millions more patients have been dumped in hospitals and nursing homes where they sit or lie, waiting to die.

No one knows how many millions of as yet undiagnosed individuals are struggling to cope with dementia, either alone or with the help of relatives, friends and neighbours.

The commonest diagnosis for all these patients is Alzheimer’s disease. It is widely reputed that two thirds of patients with dementia are suffering from Alzheimer’s. Indeed, Alzheimer’s has in many countries become the default diagnosis. If a patient has dementia then they will be assumed to be suffering from Alzheimer’s and little or no effort will be made to find any other diagnosis. The drug companies, the big charities, the media and even some doctors seem to promote the view that the words ‘dementia’ and ‘Alzheimer’s’ are pretty well interchangeable.

The prognosis for those diagnosed as suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is a gloomy one for, despite many promises, there is still no cure for this disease, nor is there any sign of a cure on the horizon. Drug companies have produced a number of prescription only drugs recommended for use with Alzheimer patients, and alternative health care practitioners produce new remedies on an almost daily basis.

Despite all the promotion given to Alzheimer’s disease, there is however, clear evidence that many so-called dementia sufferers who have been diagnosed as suffering from Alzheimer’s disease have been misdiagnosed. They are suffering from something quite different and could be cured – often completely and frequently within weeks or even days.

My book The Dementia Myth is intended simply to draw attention to this scandal and to provide pointers for those who feel that a loved one may have been misdiagnosed. My aim is to offer direction for those who might otherwise be led into a fateful diagnosis when other more hopeful possibilities might exist.

Some patients who have dementia will, of course, have Alzheimer’s disease, and will be incurable. But if just one patient can be rescued from a faulty diagnosis and returned to an active, productive life then writing the book will have been well worthwhile.

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