2012-2013 Alzheimer’s Disease Progress Report

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on February 5, 2014

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive, age-related brain disorder that affects as many as 5 million Americans. It is the most common form of dementia, a broad term for diseases and conditions that damage brain cells and, over time, impair brain function. Alzheimer’s causes once-healthy neurons—a type of brain cell—to lose their ability to function and communicate with each other. Eventually, the damaged cells die. Over time, people with Alzheimer’s disease lose their ability to remember, think, learn, and carry out even the simplest of tasks. The physical, emotional, and financial toll exacted by this long process of decline cannot be overstated. While disease onset may occur decades before the first symptoms, late-onset Alzheimer’s disease is typically diagnosed in people age 65 and older. A rare, inherited form of the disease can occur in people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s.”

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