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Scientists are projecting that 13.2 million older Americans will have Alzheimer's disease by 2050 unless new ways are found to prevent or treat the disease.
According to these latest estimates, reported by Dr. Denis A. Evans and his colleagues at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, the numbers of older people with Alzheimer's - now at 4.5 million - will grow dramatically as the population ages.
The most notable increases will be among people 85 and older, who may number 8 million with the disease by mid-century.
The projections appear in the August issue of the Archives of Neurology.
These updated estimates from Evans and his group underscore the challenge that we face in the fight against AD,'' says Dr. Marcelle Morrison-Bogorad, associate director for the Neuroscience and Neuropsychology of Aging program at the National Institutes of Aging, which funded the research.But I am also optimistic that current research will lead to strategies for intervention early in the disease so that we can keep these projections from becoming a reality.''
In 2000, 7 percent of those with Alzheimer's were 65-74, 53 percent were 75-84, and 40 percent were 85 and older. By 2050, it is projected that 60 percent of people with the disease will be 85 and older.
Alzheimer's is an irreversible disorder of the brain, leading to death. For more information, go to www.alzheimers.org, or call the Institute's Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center at 800-438-4380.
(The Cox web site is at http://www.coxnews.com )
c.2003 Cox News Service