Wed, 22 Nov, 2017
 
  
 
     Position Statement    Renaming Campaign on Chinese name of Dementia as 「腦退化症」 


19 November 2010
Renaming Campaign on Chinese name of Dementia as 「腦退化症」
 

Our Association, The Hong Kong Psychogeriatric Association, is an expert body specialised in mental conditions of elderly.

 

The Hong Kong Psychogeriatric Association has noticed a recent campaign on renaming the Chinese name of Dementia as 「腦退化症」and a tendency to adopt the name as the official Chinese term of the disease entity. On behalf of the Association, I appreciate the effort of the organising committee of the Renaming Campaign to eliminate stigmatisation of dementia. The adoption of an accurate and non-stigmatising name is essential to promoting mental health literacy of the general public, and will lay the cornerstone to the acceptance and care of the people with dementia in the community.

 

In view of these practical implications, our Association has taken an extremely serious consideration of the proposed new Chinese name. After a thorough discussion within our Association, we have strong reservations  on the proposed name 「腦退化症」 for the following reasons.

 

Firstly, the name「腦退化症」 literally means “degeneration of the brain”, and does not reflect the nature and symptoms of dementia. Moreover, not all dementias are caused by degeneration of the brain. Studies overseas and in Hong Kong reveal that up to one third of all cases of dementia are due to vascular insults to the brain, and are not caused by cerebral degeneration. The adoption of the name「腦退化症」may mislead the public that all dementias are irreversibly degenerative, hence ignore the salience that certain causes of dementias are modifiable or even reversible. On the other hand, a number of degenerative brain diseases, for instance Parkinson’s Disease, may not result in dementia. Therefore, we opine that “腦退化症”is not an appropriate or  accurate description of dementia and may  convey an incorrect message to the general public.

 

Besides, the new Chinese name  is not consistent with the existing terms used in  Mainland China 「痴呆症」 or Taiwan 「失智症」. We suggest the adoption of a term that is more consistent with the names used in Mainland China and Taiwan to facilitate better communication about dementia care amongst the Chinese communities.

 

Last but not least, in the upcoming Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V (DSM V) which will be published in 2 years’ time, the term “Major Cognitive Disorder” is likely to be used to replace “Dementia”. Our Association would strongly suggest to postpone the adoption of a new Chinese name for dementia until then so that the new name will be consistent with international terminology. We think that if we adopt the new name 「腦退化症」now and change the name again after 2 years, it will be very confusing for the public.

 

In conclusion, our Association’s recommendations on the renaming of the Chinese name of dementia are as follows

 
  1. We suggest to postpone the renaming campaign for two years until the publication of DSM V.
  2. We strongly request for the involvement of more professional bodies with expertise and experience in the field of dementia in the selection process of the most appropriate official Chinese name of dementia.

Yours truly,

Dr. Li Siu-wah, M.H.
President
Hong Kong Psychogeriatric Association

 

香港老年精神科學會就

「痴呆症正名比賽」結果為「腦退化症」

意見書

香港老年精神科學會為香港一個專業學術團體,集合不同界別的專職人員,志在推動完善的長者精神健康服務。

 

本會知悉有關注痴呆症團體近日舉辦「痴呆症正名比賽」,集思廣益,希望為痴呆症尋求一個更貼切的中文名稱,減低普羅大眾對痴呆症的歧視及誤解,促進社會人士對痴呆症患者的接納與支持,而獲選的中文病名為「腦退化症」。本會對是次正名活動的目標十分支持,然而由於所採納的中文病名對公眾的精神健康教育有著極大的影響,本會對於採用「腦退化症」為中文病名的建議,存有極大的保留。

 

首先,「腦退化症」在字面上解作「腦部退化的病症」,欠缺對痴呆症病徵的表述,難以引起公眾對痴呆症實際病況的注意。另一方面,腦部退化並非引致所有痴呆症的唯一原因。根據國際及本地痴呆症的研究顯示,達三份之的痴呆症是因為腦中風而起,而非因為腦部退化。因此,「腦退化症」並不是一個準確的病名,更可能引起公眾的誤解,以為所有痴呆症皆是因為不能逆轉的退化而成,忽略了部分痴呆症是能夠醫治甚至可以康復的事實。再者,不少腦部退化的病症,例如柏金遜症等,並不一定會引致痴呆症。從以上理由可見,「腦退化症」對痴呆症的描述有欠準繩,絕對不是一個最合適的正名。

 

目前中港台三地在痴呆症的研究與服務方面正有著緊密的連繫。在溝通的層面上,「腦退化症」跟中國大陸採用的「痴呆症」和台灣採用的「失智症」有很大的差異。因此,本會建議在香港採用一個跟「痴呆症」和「失智症」類近的病名,以助學術溝通。

 

精神疾病診斷與統計手冊第五版將會於兩年內推出,在新修訂的手冊當中,”Major Cognitive Disorder”很可能會被採納為替代「痴呆症」的英文病名。就此,本會建議將痴呆症的正名活動延至精神疾病診斷與統計手冊第五版推出之後,統一痴呆症中英文正名,減低對公眾引起的混亂。

 

就著以上表達的種種,本會強烈要求:

 
  1. 推遲痴呆症的正名活動至精神疾病診斷與統計手冊第五版推出之後。
  2. 痴呆症正名的遴選必須經過廣泛諮詢,匯集各個對痴呆症有專業知識或經驗團體的意見。

此致
李兆華醫生
香港老年精神科學會會長