What does the general public understand about prevention and treatment of dementia? A systematic review of population-based surveys
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Objectives To synthesise results of population surveys assessing knowledge and attitudes about prevention and treatment of dementia. Methods MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and grey literature were searched for English language entries published between 2012 and May 2017. Survey questions were grouped using an inductive approach and responses were pooled. Results Thirty-four eligible studies and four grey literature items were identified. Surveys were conducted in Europe, the US, Eastern Asia, Israel, and Australia. Nearly half of respondents agreed that dementia is a normal and non-preventable part of ageing, but belief in the potential for prevention may be improving over time. The role of cardiovascular risk factors was poorly understood overall. Less than half of respondents reported belief in the availability of a cure for dementia. The value of seeking treatment was highly endorsed. Conclusions Results suggest that knowledge about the potential for dementia prevention and treatment remains poor but may be improving over time. Knowledge among those living in low- and middle-income countries are largely unknown, presenting challenges for the development of National action plans consistent with World Health Organization directives.
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