Number of Americans with Alzheimer's to more than double by 2060

The amount of Americans living with Alzheimer's-related dementia or mild cognitive impairment will increase from 6.1 million in 2017 to 15 million by 2060, according to a projection published in Alzheimer's and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association.

To create the projection, researchers examined the most comprehensive studies available on rates of Alzheimer's disease progression and ran the data through a computer model that accounted for the nation's aging population. The model projected about 5.7 million people will develop mild cognitive impairment by 2060 and an additional 9.3 million will have dementia due to the disease. Among the dementia group, about 4 million will need long-term care comparable to that given in nursing homes.

"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," said Ron Brookmeyer, PhD, professor of biostatistics at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health in Los Angeles and the study's lead author. "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."

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