The Dunedin Dementia Risk Awareness Project: A Convenience Sample of General PractitionersName : Dr. Yoram Barak
Affliation : Associate Professor
University : Otago University Medical School
Country : New Zealand
Aims: Recent recommendations of USA and UK governmental and academic agencies suggest that up to 35% of dementia cases are preventable. We aimed to appraise General Practitioners (GPs) awareness of risk and protective factors associated with dementia and their intentions to act within the context of the Health Beliefs Model.
Methods: We canvassed degree of dementia awareness, using the modified Lifestyle for Brain Health (LIBRA) scale among a convenience sample of local GPs.
Results: Thirty-five GPs, mean age 56.7 + 6.7 years (range: 43-72) participated. There were 19 women and 16 men, all NZ European. Genetics was the most commonly cited risk for dementia and exercise the most commonly cited protective factor. More than 80% of participants correctly identified 8/12 LIBRA factors. Factors not identified were: renal dysfunction, obesity, Mediterranean diet and high cognitive activity. The majority of participants felt they were at risk of suffering from dementia, that lifestyle changes will help reduce their risk and wish to start these changes soon.
Conclusions: GPs are knowledgeable about dementia risk and protective factors. They reported optimism in their ability to modify risks through lifestyle interventions. This places GPs in a unique position to help disseminate this knowledge to their clients.
Dr. Yoram Barak, Otago University Medical School, Department of Psychological Medicine, Dunedin, New Zealand.