Awareness Session on Dementia Followed by Ace Urdu-III Pilot Study at Ahle Bait Institute

Topic: Understanding Alzheimer/Dementia

Facilitator: Dr. Suvarna Alladi, Additional Professor and Neurologist at NIMS, Hyderabad; President, ARDSI

Date: 8th September, 2013

Place: Ahle Bait Institute, Bibi Bazar Chowrasta, Alijah Kotla-Sultan Shahi Road, Hyderabad

Time: 11am-2.30pm

  • The meeting commenced at 11 am and was attended by close to 30 people including NIMS Memory Clinic and ARDSI staff. Literature on Dementia in English and Urdu was distributed to the audience.
  • The introductory session on Senior Citizen cards was given by Mr. Mohammad Abdul Sattar Khan who enumerated the various benefits of this card which was being issued by GHMC meant for senior citizens of the twin cities. Using several witty anecdotes he conveyed to the audience the legal and personal advantages of owning this card and how they were trying to link this card to several basic amenities such as electricity, telephone connections, parking, medical diagnostic centres and hospitals etc. so that senior citizens could avail of concessions in these various places.
  • At around 12.15 pm, Dr. Suvarna Alladi began her talk with some witty comments on her own grasp on the Urdu language which put the audience at ease at once. She then spoke of the importance of remembering and the importance of forgetting and how each had its own place in our lives.
  • She explained to the audience with everyday examples the different kinds of memories such as personal and factual, working memory, tactile and auditory memory, and associative memory. She also spoke of how different people tend to remember different things about the same event or situation that they may have encountered.
  • Dr. Suvarna Alladi then went on to define dementia as failing memory, its prevalence in the population and the different social, medical, psychological and economic implications of the disease.
  • She then listed out the possible causes of dementia like Alzheimer’s disease, Stroke, head injury, alcoholism, thyroid and vitamin deficiency, brain infections and medications.
  • She spoke of the progression of the disease enumerating the different symptoms at each stage and then gave the audience several examples of forgetting in someone with Alzheimer’s Dementia.
  • Dr. Suvarna Alladi then went on to speak of the other causes of forgetting which could not be called dementia like attention problems, disorganisation and depression. She also encouraged the audience to go to the doctor to get assessed as soon as possible after the appearance of symptoms for a better prognosis.
  • She then spoke of the history of the NIMS Memory Clinic and ARDSI, and the process of assessing and counseling a patient and their care-givers by the staff. She enumerated the different services offered by ARDSI.
  • She concluded with different methods to preserve one’s memory such as regular exercise, balanced diet, and cognitively stimulating exercises.
  • A brief question and answer session followed in which the audience clarified their doubts about the difference between normal forgetting and pathological forgetting.
  • At about 1.15pm after the session, the audience were redirected to another room where the pilot ACE Urdu-III was administered by Memory Clinic and ARDSI staff. The control group constituted of literate subjects above the age of 45 years. Each subject’s Urdu language proficiency was first assessed and when found to be literate in Urdu, the cognitive assessment was conducted on them.
  • The session ended on an extremely optimistic note with several of the audience very happy to have been assessed in their native language, and a sizable number of controls having been obtained for the ACE Urdu-III, making the pilot study a grand success.