It is currently estimated that 5.4 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease. However, new research shows that the number may actually be closer to 11 million people, when including those who are not yet showing symptoms of the disease.
Learn more about the study that uncovered these numbers and why researchers believe more people are affected by Alzheimer’s than previously thought.
New Research on Biomarkers Reveals Alzheimer’s Affects Twice as Many People as Estimated
New statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased nearly 50% in the past 15 years. Now, a new study is giving more insight into the biomarkers that indicate the presence of the disease before symptoms occur, finding that the disease is affecting nearly 11 million people in the U.S.
The study used data from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. They found that most important biomarker of the disease is a high level of beta amyloid, a toxic protein that builds in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.
People with a high level of amyloid typically develop symptoms within 10 years, meaning that more people are affected by Alzheimer’s in the U.S., even though they may not yet be showing symptoms.
The Push for Early Detection and Intervention
Michael Donahue, lead author of the study and associate professor at USC said, “This study is trying to support the concept that the disease starts before symptoms, which lays the groundwork for conducting early interventions.”
The earlier that Alzheimer’s is detected, the more treatment options are available, allowing the person detected a chance at slowing the disease, or participating in a clinical trial to help find a cure.
Paul Aisen, senior study author and director of the USC Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute at the Keck School of Medicine believes that:
“We need more studies looking at people before they have Alzheimer’s symptoms. The reason many promising drug treatments have failed to date is because they intervened at the end-stage of the disease when it’s too late. The time to intervene is when the brain is still functioning well – when people are asymptomatic.”
How do you feel about the latest study that suggests nearly 11 million people in the U.S. are affected by Alzheimer’s? Have you seen the benefits of early intervention for Alzheimer’s for yourself or a loved one? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.