Toronto conference focus on Alzheimer’s treatment

Robert Egge

Robert Egge, the Alzheimer’s Association’s Chief Public Policy Officer and Executive Vice President, Government Affairs, leads the Association’s Public Policy division based in Washington, DC

Important health policy and health economic research findings were reported on Tuesday, July 26 at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2016 (AAIC 2016) inToronto, that shed light on system changes that may lead to potential costs savings, increased survival and reduced burden of Alzheimer’s disease – on individuals, families and the healthcare system.

One study revealed that even without a treatment that changes the underlying course of the disease, there is an economic benefit of ensuring people with Alzheimer’s receive the current standard of care for indicated medications. The study showed that treated patients cost the healthcare system less than those who do not receive medication for Alzheimer’s disease; they also had lower mortality rates during the study compared to untreated patients.

“The new results support that early Alzheimer’s treatment – even with today’s first generation therapies – has significant potential to benefit the person with the disease, and the economy,” said Maria C. Carrillo, PhD, chief science officer, Alzheimer’s Association. “Today, Alzheimer’s is incurable and progressive, and some assume that treating dementia is an unjustified cost drain on our healthcare system, but this study presents compelling arguments for prescribing the standard of care.”

In other studies reported at AAIC 2016:

  • More than 369,000 U.S. hospital admissions of people with Alzheimer’s in 2013 were potentially avoidable; these preventable hospital visits cost Medicare $2.6 billion.
  • The Medicare Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) offers an opportunity to establish a cognitive baseline, identify changes over time, and detect cognitive impairment. The AWV is being successfully implemented on a wide scale by a large Midwestern health system. The study shows that better communications are needed to draw more males, African-Americans, Hispanics, and older people into the program.
  • To advance the global dementia research agenda, the World Health Organization has identified priority areas for focus and investment by funders, researchers and policymakers by a globally representative and systematic mechanism. – CNW

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