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Aging Ment Health. 2014;18(3):269-75. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2013.837149. Epub 2013 Nov 1.

Time to reinvent the science of dementia: the need for care and social integration.

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a Institute for Health and Aging , University of California in San Francisco , CA , USA.



The increasing number of older adults with dementia is a large and growing public health problem. Alzheimer's disease, the prevailing form of dementia, is projected to quadruple worldwide. To date, the care and social integration of individuals with dementia is complicated by limited collaborations between biomedicine and other disciplines. The objective of this paper is therefore to reflect on the orientation of biomedicine with regard to the science of dementia, and to articulate a path for moving forward.


The authors drew upon, and expanded, the insights of an interdisciplinary, international workshop entitled 'Bioethics and the Science of Aging: The Case of Dementia' held in October 2012 at the University of California in Berkeley.


The care of individuals with dementia compels solid interdisciplinary collaborations. There are several issues affecting the care of individuals with dementia: (1) an evolving definition of dementia; (2) the ambiguous benefits of the diagnosis of dementia; (3) ethical conflicts concerning consent processes and clinical trials; and (4) a limited understanding of the perspective of the person with dementia.


We argue that it is time for a renewed dialogue between biomedicine and other disciplines -- particularly public health, the social sciences, the medical humanities and bioethics. This interdisciplinary dialogue would facilitate a process of self-reflection within biomedicine. This dialogue will also provide the foundation for equitable public health interventions and will further prioritize the values and preferences of individuals with dementia, as well as their care and social integration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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