Number of Americans with Alzheimer’s expected to double by 2060: Study shows 47 million already demonstrating “evidence of susceptibility”

A recent study published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association revealed that up to 15 million Americans would develop either Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment by 2060, a significant increase from only 6.08 million this year. A team of researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health looked at various Alzheimer’s disease studies and transmitted the data to a computer model that examined key factors such as the aging U.S. population.

Experts found that 5.7 million Americans will develop mild cognitive impairment and another 9.3 million will have Alzheimer’s-related dementia by 2060. Likewise, the results revealed that about 2.4 million Americans are currently suffering from mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease. The findings also showed that about 4 million U.S. patients would require intensive care that is similar to that given in a nursing home.

“Estimates by disease state and severity are important because the resources needed to care for patients vary so much over the course of the illness. There are about 47 million people in the U.S. today who have some evidence of preclinical Alzheimer’s, which means they have either a build-up of protein fragments called beta-amyloid or neurodegeneration of the brain but don’t yet have symptoms. Many of them will not progress to Alzheimer’s dementia in their lifetimes. We need to have improved methods to identify which persons will progress to clinical symptoms, and develop interventions for them that could slow the progression of the disease, if not stop it all together,” lead researcher Ron Brookmeyer told Newswise online.

According to Brookmeyer, the results underscore the need to create measures that could defer disease progression in people exhibiting neuropathological changes that may result in the subsequent onset of Alzheimer’s dementia.

The study highlights the need for secondary preventions for people at risk of developing Alzheimer’s based on their existing brain pathology, researchers stated. They also added that their results will address initial prevention treatment for people who may not have a preclinical condition.

High vitamin C intake may prevent Alzheimer’s disease, recent study shows

An animal study carried out by researchers at the Vanderbilt University showed that vitamin C deficiency might lead to an onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The scientists have examined mouse models to determine how a combination of Alzheimer’s-linked mutations and vitamin C deficiency affect mitochondrial function. The health experts observed that vitamin C deficiency resulted in reduced mitochondrial respiration and increased production of reactive oxygen species.

The research team also found that the mitochondria of animal models of Alzheimer’s disease exhibited higher respiration than wild-type controls. The findings suggest that both amyloid production and inadequate vitamin C levels contribute to mitochondrial dysfunction, the researchers said. However, the experts added that increased vitamin C intake through diet and supplementation might help keep the disease at bay due to the nutrient’s strong antioxidant properties. (Related: Revolutionary Alzheimer’s disease study points to vitamin C as a universal nutrient for prevention.)

The results were published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine.

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, a condition wherein brain function deteriorates. Symptoms of the disease may start from mild memory loss and can progress to cases wherein brain function is completely impaired and loses its capacity to respond to the environment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts Alzheimer’s disease as one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S.

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