Alzheimer’s Misinformation Common Around the Globe

Nearly 60% of people incorrectly believe that Alzheimer’s disease is a typical part of the aging process, as well as 40% believing that the disease is not fatal. These findings were released by the Alzheimer’s Association as part of Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month.

The Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month International Survey polled 6,307 adults ≥18 years of age in 12 countries from May 22–June 4, 2014 via online, telephone, and face-to-face surveys. Fifty-nine percent of respondents stated that they believed that Alzheimer’s disease is a typical part of aging, 40% believed that Alzheimer’s disease is not fatal, and 37% thought that a family history of the disease was necessary for an individual risk factor; none of these statements are true, asserts the Alzheimer’s Association. A prior report released in March 2014 also found that 24% of Americans held the incorrect belief regarding family history and individual risk. Although many of the survey respondents expressed misinformation about Alzheimer’s disease, 23% selected it was the disease or condition that they feared contracting the most, second only to cancer (42%).

RELATED: 2014 Update on National Alzheimer’s Disease Plan

Additional findings included:

  • The mistaken belief that Alzheimer’s is a typical part of aging was highest in India (84%), Saudi Arabia (81%), and China (80%).
  • The UK and Mexico had the highest recognition that Alzheimer’s is not a typical part of aging (62%), but 37% and 38%, respectively, were still misinformed.
  • More than half of people surveyed in Germany (56%) and Mexico (55%) and Brazil (53%) were unaware that Alzheimer’s is fatal.
  • While 40% of individuals overall were misinformed, more people ages 18–34 (60%), 35–44 (61%), and 45–44 (58%) agreed that Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease than people ages 60+ (53%).

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