INFORMATION ON ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.
According to recent estimates by the Alzheimer’s Association, as many as 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and that number continues to grow. By the year 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million. In addition, it is estimated that 16.1 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementia. The growing number of people with Alzheimer’s disease and the costs associated with the disease places a heavy social and economic burden on society.
Although we still do not know the cause of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers believe that brain changes begin as early as 10 to 20 years before any symptoms such as memory loss arise. Amyloid Plaques and Tau Tangles begin to develop deep in the brain, resulting in healthy brain cells working less efficiently. These brain cells lose their ability to function and communicate with each other, and eventually they die. This damaging process effects the hippocampus, which is essential in forming memories.
Through advance technologies such as Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan, researchers are now able to visualize and track the progression of amyloid plaque and tau tangle build-up. New studies and medications are designed to potentially slow down, reduce or eliminate this build up and in turn, slow down or prevent future memory loss.
There are currently no medications available by prescription to treat, prevent or slow down Alzheimer’s disease. Participation in a clinical trial is the only way we will ever identify a medication to target this deadly disease. We encourage you to consider participation, if not for yourself, but for future generations.
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