The rate of Alzheimer’s disease in America is expected to double by 2060 to 15 million, a new study revealed. That is up from this year’s rate of 6.08 million Americans that have the debilitating brain disease.
This study – the first of its kind – estimated that 47 million Americans have early signs of Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment.
The alarming numbers highlight the need to develop treatment that could slow the progression of the disorder in people who show early neurological signs of the disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that occurs when a build-up of abnormal proteins cause nerve cells to die, leading to severe memory loss and death.
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health examined the largest studies available on rates of progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
They then used that information in a computer model they built that took into account the aging of the US population.
The model projected the numbers of people who had preclinical conditions, meaning they did not show signs of the disease, and clinical disease conditions, who did show signs.
Results published today in Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, showed that by 2060 about 5.7 million Americans will have mild cognitive impairment, an intermediate stage involving loss of memory, thinking and judgment that does not quite meet the standards for dementia.
Researchers estimate that today about 2.4 million Americans are living with mild-cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease.
Another 9.3 million are projected to have dementia due to Alzheimer’s by 2060, the study said.
About four million of those Americans will need an intensive level of care similar to that provided by nursing homes.
‘There are about 47 million people in the US today who have some evidence of preclinical Alzheimer’s, which means they have either a build-up of protein fragments called beta-amyloid or neurodegeneration of the brain but don’t yet have symptoms,’ said Ron Brookmeyer, lead study author and professor at UCLA.
He said that having estimates by disease severity is important because the resources needed to care for patients vary over the course of the illness.
‘Many of them will not progress to Alzheimer’s dementia in their lifetimes. We need to have improved methods to identify which persons will progress to clinical symptoms, and develop interventions for them that could slow the progression of the disease, if not stop it all together,’ Brookmeyer added.
The disease is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the US, coming in fifth among people aged 65 to 85.
A build-up of abnormal proteins cause nerve cells to die which disrupts the transmitters that carry messages, causing the brain to shrink.
As brain cells die, the functions they provide are lost.
Early symptoms usually appear when a person is around 60 years old and include short-term memory loss, disorientation, mood swings and behavioral changes.
Later symptoms include severe memory loss and forgetting close family members, becoming anxious and frustrated over the inability to make sense of the world and loss of the ability to walk, eat or drink.
The majority of patients will eventually need 24-hour professional care.
On average, patients live five to seven years after diagnosis, but some may live for 10 to 15 years.
Written by Kayla Brantley and published by the Daily Mail ~ December 7, 2017.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U. S. C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml“