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SADA aims to raise Alzheimer's awareness
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 06 - 03 - 2012

One of the biggest challenges facing the Alzheimer's community is lack of public awareness about the disease. Its symptoms are often mistakenly thought to be age-related or effects of stress.
Raising public awareness of Alzheimer's disease, its symptoms, diagnoses and treatments in the Kingdom is one of the main goals of the Saudi Alzheimer's Disease Association (SADA). The group provides services and advice to people whose lives are affected by Alzheimer's, whether as a patient or caregiver.
In 1906, German psychiatrist and neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer described a disease, a form of dementia, that worsen as it progresses, cannot be reversed, and eventually leads to death. Today, more than 36 million have the disease that was named after Alzheimer, and the number is growing. The Kingdom is no exception.
There is no specific number of how many people have Alzheimer's in Saudi Arabia,” Deema Alrayes, executive director of SADA, said. However, a data center at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center has been launched toward this end.
Alrayes said that the chance to get the disease increases significantly as one reaches 65 years of age. It is estimated that 2% of those aged 65 have the disease while 6.5% of those aged 75 are diagnosed with it, and one in every five persons aged 85 is an Alzheimer's patient.
The association's duty is not confined to raising public awareness; it also provides help and advice for people affected by the disease. We distributed more than 1.6 million for Alzheimer's patients across the Kingdom,” Alrayes said. She also said that although the group is based in Riyadh, its services reach across the country through their partnerships with eight charity associations in the Kingdom.
The volunteerism culture is apparent in SADA's activities. “The volunteer committee is essential to the association; it is the organizing arm of all our activities,” Alrayes said. She added that the committee enlists more than 100 volunteers who are private and public university students.
SADA also participates in many activities in the Kingdom's main cities. Most recently, it organized the first international Alzheimer's disease conference in Riyadh. It recommended publishing a periodical carrying all scientific researches related to Alzheimer's disease.

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