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Predicting a Rise in Alzheimer's Cases

Researchers expect a dramatic increase in Alzheimer's

Every day, researchers are uncovering more about Alzheimer's disease as they search for better care options.

Investigators at Rush University Medical Center added an important piece to the puzzle with their study that estimates the number of people with Alzheimer's disease may triple by 2050.

The study was published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, and was supported by the Alzheimer's Association and the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health.

"This increase is due to an aging baby boom generation," says study co-author Jennifer Weuve, ScD, MPH, a researcher with the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging. "It will place a huge burden on society, disabling more people who develop the disease, challenging their caregivers, and straining medical and social safety nets.

"Our study draws attention to an urgent need for more research, treatments and preventive strategies to reduce the impact of this epidemic," she adds.

Preparing for the future

Information taken from 1993 to 2011 from 10,802 people ages 65 and older living in Chicago was analyzed by researchers.

The total number of people with Alzheimer's disease in 2050 is projected to be 13.8 million, an increase from 4.7 million in 2010, according to the study. By 2050, the number of people 85 years old or older with the disease will balloon to approximately seven million.

"Our projections use sophisticated methods and the most up-to-date data, but they echo projections made years and decades ago," Weuve says. "All of these projections anticipate a future with a dramatic increase in the number of people with Alzheimer's and should compel us to prepare for it.