The aging of America and changing demographics around the globe mean that Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are likely to double or even triple over the next few decades. The cost in human suffering is incalculable.

Financially, the bill to care for these patients in the United States alone will top one trillion dollars by 2050. Our annual investment in research averages about $400 million and to date there have been no successful treatments, even after decades of research and development.

There probably won’t be enough caregivers to go around given the shifting demographics. Unless there is a concerted research effort to come up with better treatments, this epidemic is only likely to get worse.

That is why it is helpful to know what we can do to lower our likelihood of developing dementia. If you are interested in this topic, be sure to listen to The People’s Pharmacy on Sept. 28, 2013. In that episode (#919), Dr. Murali Doraiswamy shares the latest research suggesting ways we can all reduce our risk of developing dementia.  

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  1. Sandra

    The doctor for the assisted care facility where my 96 year old Mother resided the last year of her life, put end- stage alzheimer as the case of death on her death certificate. She really had dementia. She always knew me and could feed and dress herself until the very end of her life. She died of heart failure. For the sake of family history and statistics, this incorrect diagnosis from a doctor who never saw my Mother, was and is disturbing.

  2. ELF

    It’s NOT Alzheimer’s per se that is the problem, it’s DEMENTIA, no matter the cause. While everyone with Alz will develop dementia, not everyone with dementia has Alz. Dementia can be caused by Alz, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, kidney, liver, heart or lung disease, strokes, tumors, reactions to meds, infections, diminished oxygen, excessive alcohol or drug use, head injury, nutritional deficiencies, fluid on the brain, etc. Currently we know many things that can cause dementia and how to reverse some, but we don’t know what causes Alz and many other brain conditions. Because we are living longer, many dementias show up that would not happen when we died younger, like vascular disease. Since people are having fewer children in the Western world and a skewed preference for boys in too many Eastern countries, normal demographics that Nature decreed are all out of whack.

  3. Frena Gray-Davidson

    One problem with statistics on Alzheimer’s is that people are being wrongly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when they may have different dementias, or even a different disease altogether which has a side-effect of manifesting dementia.
    A recent forensic study from the VA Honolulu Hospital. published in 2010 showed that of 411 people diagnosed in life as having Alzheimer’s, only 50 percent at forensice autopsy showed the plaques and tangles markers of having actual Alzheimer’s disease.
    Of the remaining 210 people. 100 hundred showed no plaques and tangles at all in their brains — thus, negating their Alzheimer’s diagnosis — while the remaining 100+ people showed no signs of having anything at all wrong with their brains.
    This presumably means that their dementia manifested from health conditions in other parts of the body from their brains or possibly that they merely had a temporary delirium.
    Further more, research is now showing that the so-called markers of Alzheimer’s, the plaques and tangles, actually also appear in associated with other medical conditions.
    And, as a long term caregiver of elders with dementia, I have to wonder whether the push from the personal doctors of elders to make their older patients go onto low or no sugar/fat/salt diets, from the mid-1980s to date, may actually have resulted in serious nutritional deficiencies that have particularly targeted brain functions.
    Just wondering…

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