Gleneagles Hospital Hong Kong and Silveriders launch health education campaign to promote early detection of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease
Mr Samuel Mak, founder of Silveriders (on the left), Dr Kenneth Tsang, CEO of Gleneagles Hospital Hong Kong (at centre) and
Dr Yeung Sze-wai (on the right), Consultant in Neurology of Gleneagles Hospital Hong Kong.
(2 February 2024 - Hong Kong) – The prevalence of cognitive impairment among elderly aged 70 or above in Hong Kong stands at 9.3%, with a projected doubling every twenty years. As the challenge of aging intensifies, it is estimated that there will be over 300,000 cognitive impairment patients in Hong Kong by 2039, highlighting the urgency of addressing the issue. Currently, Alzheimer's disease contributes to approximately 70% of cognitive impairment cases.
If a person frequently experiences short-term memory problems or presents memory deteriorations which are more severe than the average for their age group, there is a possibility that he or she may be suffering from mild cognitive impairment (MCI). This is a transitional stage from normal aging to cognitive impairment, during when patients can still perform daily activities but are at a higher risk of developing cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer's disease in the future. Early detection of MCI and mild Alzheimer's disease with appropriate interventional therapy is crucial to the prevention of progressing to irreversible stages of the disease.
In light of this, Gleneagles Hospital Hong Kong, Silveriders, a social enterprise in Hong Kong, and Eisai (Hong Kong) Co., Ltd. are jointly organising Hong Kong's first community brain health education programme focusing on mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The programme will be launched in the Southern District of Hong Kong Island and aims to raise public awareness and enhance the understanding of MCI among the community and families of Alzheimer's disease patients through initiatives including community health seminars and roadshows with screening survey. The initiative promotes early screening for MCI and early detection of mild Alzheimer's disease, which will in turn foster timely intervention and treatment of the disease.
According to the Government data, the number of patients with cognitive impairment treated by the Hospital Authority has increased by 19% from 70,800 in 2017 to 84,000 in 2022 over the past five years and 90% of the patients are aged 65 and above. Mr Samuel Mak, founder of the social enterprise Silveriders, shared his personal journey as a caregiver of a family member with Alzheimer's disease and the purpose behind establishing Silveriders. He believed that to alleviate the burden on caregivers, it is crucial to educate the public not to shy away from health screening so as to avoid missing the golden opportunity for treatment. He said, "In fact, many diseases can be prevented and detected early, and Alzheimer's disease is no exception. Early treatment not only helps patients but also benefits their family. Silveriders is pleased to collaborate with Gleneagles Hospital Hong Kong through a medical-social partnership, enhancing public understanding of MCI and mild Alzheimer's disease, and encouraging participants to address their own situations through practical actions such as understanding their own health."
According to the "Report on the Needs of Patients with Alzheimer's disease" released by Mainland China in September last year, patients with Alzheimer's disease under the age of 60 account for 21.3% which exceed the 5% to 10% reported internationally for early-onset of Alzheimer's disease, revealing that patients of the disease in China are becoming younger. With the aging population in Hong Kong, the rising number of patients with Alzheimer's disease cannot be ignored. Dr Kenneth Tsang, Chief Executive Officer of Gleneagles Hospital Hong Kong, said, "In addition to providing quality medical services to the public, Gleneagles Hospital Hong Kong strives to promote awareness of physical and mental health as well as disease prevention in the community as part of our wider commitment to social responsibility. The community education campaign on mild cognitive impairment aims to dispel misconceptions about the disease and emphasis the importance of early detection through offering a series of health seminars and screening activities. The campaign also strives to provide the public with information on the latest medical interventions available, which include screening, diagnosing, treatment and ongoing monitoring of the condition."
Patients with MCI experience more severe decline in memory, language ability, logical thinking or judgment compared to their peers of the same age, leading to symptoms such as being forgetful and absent-minded, difficulty in expressing themselves, making incorrect judgments, and feeling confused about time and place. Dr Yeung Sze-wai, Consultant in Neurology of Gleneagles Hospital Hong Kong, pointed out that clinical research and discussion on ways to slow down or treat such conditions have been ongoing for many years. He said, "The brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease accumulate excess and abnormal amyloid proteins and neurofibrillary tangles, resulting in progressive cognitive decline due to death of brain cells and atrophy. With more treatment options available for early-stage Alzheimer's disease, including medications that can remove amyloid plaques from the brains of patients, we can now not only alleviate symptoms, but also slow down cognitive decline and delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease."
Cognitive impairment screening and education campaign
Co-organised by: Gleneagles Hospital Hong Kong, Silveriders, and Eisai (Hong Kong) Co., Ltd.
Date: February to April 2024
Target: 300 residents of Southern District of Hong Kong Island aged 55 or above
Location: Areas near South Horizons Peninsula, Southern District, Hong Kong Island
Purpose: To enhance residents' ability to recognise mild cognitive impairment/mild Alzheimer's disease.
1. Community lecture on "How to identify forgetfulness/mild Alzheimer's disease?"
(Speaker: Dr Yeung Sze-wai, Consultant in Neurology at Gleneagles Hospital Hong Kong)
2. Roadshow for health screening
(Sharing of information on mild cognitive impairment and conduct screening with the Early Cognitive Impairment Screening Questionnaire - AD8)
3. Community survey on mild Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment