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Early diagnosis of Alzheimer's 'could save billions of pounds'

Early diagnosis of Alzheimer's 'could save billions of pounds'
14th May 2009

Diagnosing and treating Alzheimer's disease at an earlier stage could save taxpayers around the world billions of pounds, new research has claimed.

According to scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, people who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer's disease are the heaviest users of long-term home care and nursing home services, costing taxpayers billions of pounds in the UK, US and beyond.

The team argued that prevention is much better than the cure in this situation, meaning that government and private healthcare programmes should invest more at an early stage to save paying for treatment later.

Mark Sager, the director of the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute, said: "This article says to all the legislators facing deficits, 'here's a way to save money and you can do it by providing better care'.

"It's a win for legislators, it's a win for patients, it's a win for families."

This week, scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis linked the early detection of dementia patient decline to patterns found in spinal fluid.

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