The Impact of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease. Most people you meet know someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Here are the latest facts.

• It’s the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.
• 16.1 million Americans provide unpaid care of people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.
• These caregivers provided an estimated 18.4 billion hours of care valued at over $232 billion.
• Between 2000 and 2015, deaths from heart disease have decreased 11%, which deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased 123%.
• 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia; it kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.
• Early and accurate diagnosis could save up to $7.9 trillion in medical and care costs.
• In 2018, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the nation $277 billion. By 2050, these costs could rise as high as $1.1 trillion.
• 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million.
• Every 65 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops the disease.
• Alzheimer’s is the only top 10 cause of death in the U.S. that cannot be prevented, cured, or even slowed.

(Statistics: Alzheimer’s Association)

senior medical researchAccording to the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement from the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in America, costing more than heart disease and cancer. In 2018 alone, caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the U.S. an estimated $277 billion. Yes, billion. One of every five dollars of Medicare spending is spent on those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) was provided by Congress an additional $14 million in research funding for fiscal year 2018, bringing the total one-year investment to $1.9 billion. However, that means that the NIH still spends only $100 on research for every $9,700 in Medicare/Medicaid spending for those patients.

“Given the aging of the population, by mid-century 135 million people worldwide will have some form of dementia…We have to find new ways to spur research toward diagnostics and interventions…,” states Ellen Kuhl, PhD, a professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford, who developed a computer simulation to track the spread of defective proteins in the brain that contribute to the progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Lou Gehrig’s disease. [source:]

The main focus of Alzheimer’s research and treatments has been focusing on amyloid plaques, but a new strategy has recently been undertaken. While the amyloid plaques are blamed for the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, evidence has emerged that the condition is really caused by oligomers, a much smaller protein that grows into the plaques. These oligomers have been identified as the possible cause of Alzheimer’s itself, because they
destroy healthy brain cells.

Researchers working on this angle have also identified chemical compounds that kill the oligomers and are developing them into drugs. The first results from clinical trials of these drugs could be available within six years. If these drugs become available, they would be used initially for patients showing early signs of Alzheimer’s, with the goal of developing a blood test to identify the oligomers to mitigate the threat even earlier.

While researchers are hopeful that the oligomers could be the breakthrough needed, so much more research is needed. There has not been an approved new drug for the disease since 2003, despite more than 400 clinical trials and billions of dollars being spent. And those drugs that are in use, fall short of the desired outcomes.

The scope of Alzheimer’s impact is already huge and continues to expand. Our best hope at finding successful treatments and, eventually, a cure, is to continue research and trials. Meridien Research is conducting numerous Alzheimer’s clinical research studies at our six Central Florida clinics and needs volunteers. For more information or to see if you or someone you know may qualify to participate, please contact us today at 1-888-777-8839 or visit