20% of Holocaust survivors suffer from Alzheimer’s

Head of psychogeriatric department calls on gov't to conduct survey to help prevent dementia and determine ways to cope.

April 10, 2013 04:10
Holocaust survivors in Israel

Holocaust survivors 521. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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An estimated one-fifth of Holocaust survivors in Israel suffer from dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease, according to Emda, a volunteer organization that runs a hotline for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and their families.

There are an estimated 192,000 survivors living in Israel today.

Prof. Yoram Barak, head of the psychogeriatric department at the Abarbanel Mental Health Center in Bat Yam and a member of Emda’s scientific council, called on the government to conduct a comprehensive survey of the problem in order to suggest ways to help prevent dementia and determine ways to cope with it.

Barak said that research done both in Israel and abroad lends support to the claim that people suffering from depression are at higher risk for Alzheimer’s. Many Holocaust survivors experience depression due to their personal experiences and losses, he said. Lifelong learning and proper nutrition, Barak added, can reduce the risk of developing dementia.

Emda runs a network of volunteers and 55 branches across the country to offer assistance to Israel’s 100,000 Alzheimer’s patients.

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