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Mobile app allows early detection of Alzheimer’s disease

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Tue, September 22, 2020  /  01:17 pm
Mobile app allows early detection of Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s is incurable. The symptoms get progressively worse over time, particularly without early, proper treatment. (Shutterstock/Lightspring)

At least 1 million Indonesians suffered from Alzheimer's disease in 2013 alone, and the number is estimated to grow twofold in 2030 and fourfold in 2050, according to the Indonesian Neurological Association (PERDOSSI).

“A lack of public awareness and understanding [about Alzheimer’s] has led to stigmatization and challenges in diagnosing and treating patients,” PERDOSSI chairman Dodik Tugasworo recently told a virtual press conference.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a syndrome in which sufferers experience deterioration in memory, thinking, behavior and the ability to perform everyday activities. 

Contrary to popular belief, people of productive age can suffer from this disease, which results in them having a lower life quality and continuous dependence on other people to perform familiar activities.

According to PERDOSSI's head of neurobehavior study Astuti, among the most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are memory loss, difficulty in doing routine tasks, disorientation, trouble communicating, social withdrawal and changes in behaviors. “Sufferers also can be sensitive, easily offended and agitated,” she added.

People whose family members suffer from Alzheimer’s may have a higher chance of developing the disease. Also at risk are people who have experienced a head injury, people who have down syndrome or diabetes, or those who have had a low quality education.

Alzheimer’s is currently incurable. The symptoms get progressively worse over time, particularly without early and proper treatment.

“Early detection is crucial for people with Alzheimer’s as they will be treated in advance, therefore the disease’s progression can be slowed down,” said Astuti.

Those who need such early screening can use the E-Memory Screening (EMS) app launched by PT Eisai Indonesia, a subsidiary of Japan-based pharmaceutical company Eisai Co., Ltd., in collaboration with PERDOSSI. It is currently available on the Google Play Store.

“Hopefully this app can be one strategy to contain dementia,” said neurologist Pukovisa “Visa” Prawiroharjo. “The app provides three main features, namely a reliable screening [process], a compilation of valid information from the experts and a trusted referral directory.”

Visa added that the app could also help users find "the nearest hospital within a 50-kilometer radius of their location." (kes)

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