Attitudes of the German General Population toward Early Diagnosis of Dementia - Results of a Representative Telephone Survey

Tobias Luck, Melanie Luppa, Jennifer Sieber, Georg Schomerus, Perla Werner, Hans Helmut König, Steffi G. Riedel-Heller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Early detection of dementia has clearly improved. Even though none of the currently available treatments for the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer's dementia, promises a cure, early diagnosis provides several benefits for patients, caregivers, and health care systems. This study aimed to describe attitudes toward early diagnosis of dementia in the German general population. Methods: A representative telephone survey of the German population aged 18+ years (n = 1,002) was conducted in 2011. Results: The majority of respondents (69%) would be willing to be examined for early diagnosis of dementia. Almost two thirds reported that they would prefer their general practitioner (GP) as the first source of professional help. More than half of the respondents (55%) stated their belief that dementia could be prevented. Respondents mostly indicated psychosocial prevention options. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the general population in Germany is very open to early diagnosis of dementia; however, this seems connected with large expectations on the effectiveness of prevention options. Dementia awareness campaigns may be employed to carefully inform the public about the prevention options currently available and their efficacy. To exploit GPs' potential as a gatekeeper for early detection of dementia, their ability to identify patients with antecedent and mild stages of the disease must be improved.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere50792
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
StatePublished - 27 Nov 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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