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October 2014

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Warning system flags Alzheimer’s symptoms

Caulfield Hospital specialists have developed a three-flag warning system to help people distinguish between memory loss due to normal ageing and forgetfulness and Alzheimer’s disease, which warrants medical attention.

Associate Professor Stephen Macfarlane said the delay from when people first started noticing symptoms to when they were diagnosed was too great.

‘Alzheimer’s is the biggest fear in people aged 70 and older, outweighing the fear of cancer,’ said Associate Professor Macfarlane. 

‘It is something people don’t necessarily want to think about, so they push their concerns to the side.

‘There are ways we can help treat Alzheimer’s now with different medications and clinical trials.

‘We can achieve substantial better outcomes now with an early diagnosis.  

‘Our three flags system is to help get people diagnosed earlier,’ said Associate Professor Macfarlane. 

‘Family and loved ones can use the simple three flags to see if medical help is needed and then take action such as visiting their local GP.

• To access the Alzheimer’s flag warning system visit