Friday, December 01, 2023 | Jumada al-ula 16, 1445 H
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Oman observes World Alzheimer's Day


The iconic Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM) illuminated its majestic facade with a vibrant purple hue to commemorate World Alzheimer's Day in collaboration with the Oman Alzheimer's Society. This striking visual display served as a poignant reminder of the global battle against Alzheimer's.

The founder and Chairman of Oman Alzheimer's Society, Dr Hamed al Sinawi, thanked ROHM for joining the cause.

The Oman Alzheimer's Association, established in 2013, aligned itself with Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) in 2018, further amplifying its commitment to addressing this pressing health concern.

Nearly three million people in the Middle East and North Africa have dementia. Estimates predicted an increase to 13.8 million cases by 2050, the world's highest regional increase.

As per official statistics, dementia is reported to develop every three seconds worldwide. It is the seventh leading global cause of death, becoming the leading cause in some nations. More than 50 per cent of caregivers report health impacts despite positive sentiments about the role.

In support of the caregivers, Oman Alzheimer's Society launched Purple Cafe in 2023, where the caregivers will benefit from group settings to discuss issues with each other and experts monthly.

In its 2023 report, ADI stated that Alzheimer's disease is a type of brain disease, just as coronary artery disease is a type of heart disease. It is caused by brain damage to nerve cells (neurons). The brain's neurons are essential to thinking, walking, talking and all human activity.

"In Alzheimer's, the neurons damaged first are those in parts of the brain responsible for memory, language and thinking. As a result, the first symptoms tend to be memory, language and thinking problems. Although these symptoms are new to the individual affected, the brain changes that cause them are thought to begin 20 years or more before symptoms start," stated the 2023 report.

It also pointed out that individuals with mild symptoms often may continue to work, drive and participate in their favourite activities, with occasional help from family members and friends. However, Alzheimer's disease is progressive and can get worse with time. How quickly it progresses and what abilities are affected vary from person to person.

"As time passes, more neurons are damaged, and more brain areas are affected. Increased help from family members, friends and professional caregivers is needed to carry out activities of daily living, such as dressing and bathing, and to keep the individual safe. Regarding personality changes, the report said individuals with Alzheimer's may develop mood, personality or behaviour changes. One special concern behaviour is wandering, which refers to individuals walking away from a particular location and not being able to retrace their steps. Individuals who wander may become lost, putting them at risk of significant injury and death.

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