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Study: 46.7 million Americans have Alzheimer’s Disease brain pathology today, so it’s urgent to prevent or at least delay progression to clinical disease

– In the Alzheimer’s affect­ed brain, abnor­mal lev­els of the beta-amy­loid pro­tein clump togeth­er to form plaques (seen in brown) that col­lect between neu­rons and dis­rupt cell func­tion. Abnor­mal col­lec­tions of the tau pro­tein accu­mu­late and form tan­gles (seen in blue) with­in neu­rons, harm­ing synap­tic com­mu­ni­ca­tion between nerve cells. Source: NIA

New fore­cast shows 6 mil­lion with Alzheimer’s dis­ease, cog­ni­tive impair­ment; The num­bers will more than dou­ble to 15 mil­lion by 2060 (NIH news):

Using new method­ol­o­gy, sci­en­tists cal­cu­late that approx­i­mate­ly 6 mil­lion Amer­i­can adults have Alzheimer’s dis­ease or mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment, which can some­times be a pre­cur­sor to the dis­ease. The esti­mate, fund­ed by the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health, also fore­casts that these num­bers will more than dou­ble to 15 mil­lion by 2060, as the pop­u­la­tion ages…This new fore­cast dif­fers from ear­li­er esti­mates. For the first time, sci­en­tists have attempt­ed to account for num­bers of peo­ple with bio­mark­ers or oth­er evi­dence of pos­si­ble pre­clin­i­cal Alzheimer’s dis­ease, but who do not have impair­ment or Alzheimer’s demen­tia. Peo­ple with such signs of pre­clin­i­cal dis­ease are at increased risk to devel­op Alzheimer’s demen­tia. The researchers say they fac­tored those rates of tran­si­tion in their mul­ti-state mod­el; fur­ther, the mod­el can esti­mate the impact of some pos­si­ble pre­ven­tion efforts on the num­ber of future cas­es.”

The Study

Fore­cast­ing the preva­lence of pre­clin­i­cal and clin­i­cal Alzheimer’s dis­ease in the Unit­ed States (Alzheimer’s & Demen­tia: The Jour­nal of the Alzheimer’s Asso­ci­a­tion)

From the abstract:

  • Intro­duc­tion: We fore­cast the preva­lence of pre­clin­i­cal and clin­i­cal Alzheimer’s dis­ease (AD) and eval­u­at­ed poten­tial impacts of pri­ma­ry and sec­ondary pre­ven­tions in the Unit­ed States.
  • Meth­ods: We used a mul­ti­state mod­el incor­po­rat­ing bio­mark­ers for pre­clin­i­cal AD with US pop­u­la­tion pro­jec­tions.
  • Results: Approx­i­mate­ly 6.08 mil­lion Amer­i­cans had either clin­i­cal AD or mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment due to AD in 2017 and that will grow to 15.0 mil­lion by 2060. In 2017, 46.7 mil­lion Amer­i­cans had pre­clin­i­cal AD (amy­loi­do­sis, neu­rode­gen­er­a­tion, or both), although many may not progress to clin­i­cal dis­ease dur­ing their life­times. Pri­ma­ry and sec­ondary pre­ven­tions have dif­fer­en­tial impact on future dis­ease bur­den.
  • Dis­cus­sion: Because large num­bers of per­sons are liv­ing with pre­clin­i­cal AD, our results under­score the need for sec­ondary pre­ven­tions for per­sons with exist­ing AD brain pathol­o­gy who are like­ly to devel­op clin­i­cal dis­ease dur­ing their life­times as well as pri­ma­ry pre­ven­tions for per­sons with­out pre­clin­i­cal dis­ease.

The Study in Context

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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