As a result of advances in medication, globally, people are living longer.1 But while longer life expectancy is a positive trend, the focus on cognitive wellbeing becomes incredibly important, as dementia becomes increasingly probable in an ageing population.

Cipla has launched a campaign to create awareness around dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Cipla Medpro’s CEO, Paul Miller said: “As part of our ethos of ‘Caring for Life’, we want people to live long and healthy lives. Therefore, we’re launching a campaign to educate people about dementia, and more specifically Alzheimer’s disease.

“While some organs, such as a heart or lung can be transplanted, and doctors can perform hip replacements, this is not possible for the brain; so the best option is to try and focus on cognitive reserve. Dementia is a debilitating brain disorder and greatly impacts the affected person as well as their family and/or caregivers. Not only does it take away precious memories, it disrupts the person’s life in numerous ways.”

While Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) may be a precursor of Alzheimer’s disease (AD),2 it does not necessarily mean someone is guaranteed to get Alzheimer’s disease, says neurologist, Dr Johan Smuts. “While there is no cure for dementia, research has found that people can potentially reduce their risk of cognitive decline, by making healthy lifestyle choices for example proper nutrition3, quitting smoking, reducing stress levels4 and regular exercise5.”

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“While there is no cure for dementia, research has found that people can potentially reduce their risk of cognitive decline, by making healthy lifestyle choices”

Studies have also shown that participating in mentally engaging activities such as crossword puzzles or Sudoku, can delay the onset of accelerated memory decline 6

“By 2050, 115 million cases of dementia are expected worldwide (a substantial increase from the estimated 44.4 million people globally that who living with the condition in 20137,1), and it is therefore vital to increase awareness and understanding of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia,” says Miller.

“There is currently very little to no proper understanding of dementia and people fear being diagnosed with dementia. We are focused on finding meaningful ways of sharing educational information to help destigmatise the condition,” says Miller.

While there is no cure for dementia, medication can help to relieve some of the symptoms or slow down their progression for a period

Studies have shown that starting treatment for patients living with Alzheimer’s disease as early as possible may help them remain independent for longer. In particular, some combinations of medicines are proven to reduce patients’ rate of decline in cognition and function.8

Medicine has also been effective in preventing the emergence of several behavioural symptoms such as agitation, aggression, irritability and night-time behaviour in Alzheimer’s disease patients who were asymptomatic at the time that they started treatment.9

As part of the awareness campaign, Cipla Medpro launched a microsite which includes information about dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive wellbeing.

The microsite also includes a feature that allows families to upload memorable photographs to be converted into puzzles (limited quantities available) for the family, an aging relative, or for someone living with Alzheimer’s disease.

Watch the video about one woman’s experience of living with a partner with Alzheimer’s

1. WHO. Ageing and health. available at: 1–5 (2018).
2. Janoutová, J. IS MILD COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT A PRECURSOR OF ALZHEIMER ’ S DISEASE?? SHORT REVIEW. Cent. Eur. J. Public Health 23, 365–367 (2015).
3. Abate, G. Nutrition and AGE-ing?: Focusing on Alzheimer ’ s Disease. Oxid. Med. Cell. Longev. 2017, (2017).
4. Justice, N. J. Neurobiology of Stress The relationship between stress and Alzheimer ’ s disease. Neurobiol. Stress 8, 127–133 (2018).
5. Sibbett, R. A. Physical fitness and dementia risk in the very old?: a study of the Lothian Birth Cohort 1921. BMC Psychiatry 1–11 (2018).
6. Staff, R. T. Intellectual engagement and cognitive ability in later life ( the “ use it or lose it ” conjecture ): longitudinal , prospective study Christmas 2018?: Time After Time. BMJ 10, 1–8 (2018).
7. Prevalence of dementia. Alzheimer’s South Africa 2019 (2019).
8. Atri, A. Memantine in patients with Alzheimer ’ s disease receiving donepezil?: new analyses of efficacy and safety for combination therapy. Alzheimers. Res. Ther. 5, 6 (2013).
9. Homma, A. Long-Term Safety and Efficacy of Donepezil in Patients with Severe Alzheimer ’ s Disease?: Results from a 52-Week , Open-Label , Multicenter , Extension Study in Japan. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2009;27232–239 232–239 (2009). doi:10.1159/000203887