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Perception and attitude of the general population towards Alzheimer’s disease in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

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There are many conflicting beliefs about Alzheimer’s disease in the general population. Conducting a study on public awareness, attitude, and knowledge towards Alzheimer’s disease is useful in decreasing discrimination and stigmatization. This study aims to determine the public perception and attitude towards Alzheimer’s disease in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In addition, we aim to identify the religious and cultural beliefs about the causes and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease in Saudi Arabia. This is a cross-sectional study that was conducted in malls and public places in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The instrument used in this study was a self-administered questionnaire that consists of 40 items. A total of 32 questions were included into the survey, which was subdivided into four sources of information that include general information about Alzheimer’s disease, information about Alzheimer’s disease in the society, general information about persons with Alzheimer’s disease, and information about the care of persons with Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, eight questions were used to collect information about the demographic profile of the participants. A total of 1698 individuals participated in the study. 1511 participants (89%) had heard about Alzheimer’s disease before. Around 46% of the participants think that the cause of Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disease and 44.9% think that is a normal part of aging. Approximately, 30% of the participants believe that Alzheimer’s disease is treated with medications and 24.6% believe that there is no treatment. Around 30% of the participant think that the society treats persons with Alzheimer’s disease with stigmatization. More than half of the participants (56.2%) think that persons with Alzheimer’s disease should not be admitted to the nursing home. The results of the present study suggest that the perception of the general public of Alzheimer’s disease is lagging behind. Many wrong beliefs were identified in the general public regarding the causes and management. The findings of our study suggest that more information about Alzheimer’s disease would be valuable and beneficial for everyone. Awareness campaigns and public education are needed to increase the knowledge of the general public regarding several aspects of the disease including prevention, causes, and management. Dissemination of information about Alzheimer’s disease should be of high priority. Increased awareness will lead to earlier detection of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia cases and appropriate care and management of those persons.

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Correspondence to Hussein Algahtani.

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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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Completion of the questionnaire was considered as a consent to participate in the study.

Ethical approval

This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC).

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Algahtani, H., Shirah, B., Alhazmi, A. et al. Perception and attitude of the general population towards Alzheimer’s disease in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Acta Neurol Belg 120, 313–320 (2020).

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