Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Alzheimer's Disease Underdiagnosed In Indian Country


About 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, the latest statistics suggest, and it's probably about as common on Native American reservations as anywhere else. But a diagnosis in Indian Country is rarer, say mental health workers. That's likely at least partly because of a cultural belief — many Native American communities don't recognize dementia as a disorder.

"In fact, many tribal communities do not have a word for dementia," says Dr. Anna Burke, a geriatric psychiatrist and specialist in dementia care at Banner Alzheimer's Institute, in Phoenix, which runs an outreach program to Native American communities in the Southwest and beyond.


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