Letters Response

Alistair Burns and 51 colleagues reply to David Le Couteur and colleagues

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f6125 (Published 15 October 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6125
  1. Alistair Burns, national clinical director on dementia, NHS England1
  2. On behalf of 51 colleagues
  1. 1Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9NT, UK
  1. alistair.burns{at}manchester.ac.uk

In their article, “Political drive to screen for pre-dementia: not evidence based and ignores the harms of diagnosis,”1 Le Couteur and colleagues contribute to the BMJ’s “Too Much Medicine” campaign and attempt to repudiate three decades of dementia research and clinical practice. It completely misses the main aims of the current political approach and is in danger of affronting the millions of people with dementia and their families affected by this devastating illness, and of undoing much of the good done over recent years.

The impact of dementia is unique. It affects an estimated 36 million people worldwide, costs $600bn (£376bn; €444bn),2 and attracts profound stigma, which demotivates people to come forward for assessment and contributes to less than half of people with …

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