Alzheimer’s Association Report Highlights Increases in Disease Prevalence and Cost of Care

Alzheimer’s Association Report Highlights Increases in Disease Prevalence and Cost of Care
The total cost to care for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is projected to surpass a quarter of a trillion dollars in 2018 for the second consecutive year, according to a report from the Alzheimer’s Association. The organization's recently released 2018 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures also reports that the number of deaths related to the disease have more than doubled, increasing by 123 percent between 2000 and 2015, while deaths from other causes have decreased. An accompanying special piece, “Alzheimer’s Disease: Financial and Personal Benefits of Early Diagnosis,” highlights new economic modeling data showing that early Alzheimer's diagnosis during the mild cognitive impairment stage could save as much as $7.9 trillion in health expenses. It also emphasizes the potential personal benefits of early diagnosis for patients and their families. “Discoveries in science mean fewer people are dying at an early age from heart disease, cancer and other diseases,” Keith Fargo, PhD, director of scientific programs and outreach for the Alzheimer’s Association, said in a press release. “Similar scientific breakthroughs are needed for Alzheimer’s disease, and will only be achieved by making it a national health care priority and increasing funding for research that can one day lead to early detection, better treatments and ultimately a cure.” As the American population grows, so does the
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    In 1998 it was reported that soluble amyloid-β oligomers (AβOs) were the pathological cytotoxic agents of Alzheimer’s disease rather than Aβ-plaque. Indeed, AβOs trigger events leading to changes in tau, and also bind to cellular receptors causing cell death. Later, other studies had shown that healthy young people have protective antibodies that recognize and neutralize toxic AβOs, a finding confirmed by the isolation of aducanumab from healthy cognitively normal elderly people, which has shown benefits in early Alzheimer’s disease. Thus, the basic discoveries needed to further development of effective therapies for this disease have been made. The problem is that those discoveries have been ignored, focusing on plaque or some downstream processes, rather than the initial event leading to the subsequent problems. Indeed, in other areas of medicine, finding the cause of disease is a crucial finding, and showing that the body can develop defenses to protect itself against the disease the foundations for developing successful therapies. Perhaps Alzheimer’s disease drug development efforts will benefit from recognizing and correcting the errors made in the past, rather than hoping for new miraculous findings.

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