The Public's Perceptions About Cognitive Health and Alzheimer's Disease Among the US Population: A National Review

Healthy Aging Program, Division of Adult and Community Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, NE MSK45, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.
The Gerontologist (Impact Factor: 2.48). 06/2009; 49 Suppl 1:S3-11. DOI: 10.1093/geront/gnp088
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The present review assesses the public's perceptions about cognitive health and Alzheimer's disease among adults in the United States. We searched the published literature and Internet, and contacted experts in the field to locate surveys assessing the public's perceptions about cognition. We found 10 eligible surveys and abstracted data concerning the public's knowledge, beliefs, concerns, and sources of information. Most of the surveys were conducted in the 2000s and focused on Alzheimer's disease rather then cognitive health. Based on the findings from the surveys, most adults were found to be aware of Alzheimer's disease but lacked specific information about the disease and its treatments. Most respondents did not perceive themselves as being very knowledgeable about Alzheimer's disease. Although we could classify the findings into several overarching domains, such as knowledge, we found considerable variability among surveys in the questions asked. Additional work is needed to understand the public's perceptions about cognitive health. Moreover, we also lack studies that help us understand perceptions about cognition across diverse demographic and cultural groups. Only by addressing these gaps can we develop targeted and effective strategies to enhance knowledge and beliefs about cognitive impairment and health.

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