As the nation faces an aging population and an escalating public health crisis related to Alzheimer's disease, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) released its new research report entitled "Memory Matters".  This report shatters unsubstantiated criticism over the value and utilization of memory screenings; emphasizes the safety and cost effectiveness of these tools; and calls on Congress to develop a national dementia screening policy.


According to the report, current research supports memory screening as a "safe, cost-efficient intervention that can reassure the healthy individual, promote successful aging and, when indicated, direct individuals to appropriate clinical resources". 


Richard E. Powers, M.D., chairman of AFA's Medical Advisory Board and an author of the report said, "Our nation must elevate age-related health issues to a high priority, and memory screenings need to be a critical part of that discussion."


The authors noted, "It is irresponsible to leave the disease undetected to the extent it is now when there are safe tools available to increase earlier detection." The study indicates that missed diagnoses account for more than 25 percent of the dementia cases and may be as high as 90 percent.


Each year, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America leads a National Memory Screening Day, with organizations and healthcare professionals across the country promoting awareness and providing free, confidential, community-based screenings for tens of thousands of people.  An AFA survey from 2007 showed that fewer than one in four individuals with self-reported memory complaints had previously discussed these issues with their physicians despite recent visits.


"Memory screenings serve as a catalyst for participants to then raise the issue of memory concerns with their primary care providers," said Eric J. Hall, President and CEO of AFA. 


"Early detection benefits the person with the disease, their caregivers and families, and society:  Most available medications for Alzheimer's disease are best given when the person has mild symptoms.  Early detection also encourages families to adopt healthy lifestyles; participate in support groups; make home safety modifications; and do long-term planning in a proactive, preventive manner."


For additional information and to read the full report, visit