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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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