(CNN) – Here is some information about Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive brain disorder that leads to loss of memory and other intellectual abilities.
Facts:Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, which is a general term for the loss of memory and intellectual abilities.
Alzheimer’s disease is fatal and there is no cure. It is a slow-moving disease that starts with memory loss and ends with severe brain damage.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in America, and the fifth leading cause of those 65 and older.
The disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, the neuropathologist did an autopsy on the brain of a woman who died after exhibiting language problems, unpredictable behavior and memory loss. Dr. Alzheimer discovered the amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, which are considered the hallmarks of the disease.
Contributing Factors:Age – The likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s doubles every five years after the age of 65. For most people, symptoms first appear after the age of 60.
Family history – Genetics play a role in an individual’s risk of developing the disease.
Head trauma – There is a possible link between the disease and repeated trauma or loss of consciousness.
Heart health – The risk of vascular dementia increases with heart conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Possible Symptoms:Memory lossRepeating questions and statementsPoor judgmentMisplacing itemsMood and personality changesConfusionDelusions and paranoiaImpulsivenessWeight lossSeizuresDifficulty swallowingIncreased sleepingLack of control of bowel and bladderTrouble handling money
National Estimates:According to the CDC, an estimated 5.7 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. About two-thirds of that number are women.
The estimated cost of caring for Alzheimer’s patients in the United States in 2018 is $277 billion.
Early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease:Early-onset Alzheimer’s is an uncommon form of dementia that strikes people younger than age 65.
About 5 percent of all people with Alzheimer’s disease develop symptoms before age 65.
Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease often runs in families.
Research:March 9, 2014 – In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers have developed a blood test that predicts with astonishing accuracy whether a healthy person will develop Alzheimer’s disease.
September 2014 – The research journal, Aging reports that in a small study at UCLA, nine out of the 10 patients involved, said their symptoms reversed after they participated in a rigorous program that included things like optimizing Vitamin D levels in the blood, using DHA supplements to bridge broken connections in the brain, optimizing gut health, and strategic fasting to normalize insulin levels.
September 11, 2015 – The Journal of Neurology publishes a study that suggests that the compound resveratrol, when taken in concentrated doses, may have benefit in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
November 23, 2016 – US drugmaker Eli Lilly announces it is ending the Phase 3 clinical trial of its drug solanezumab. “Patients treated with solanezumab did not experience a statistically significant slowing in cognitive decline compared to patients treated with placebo,” the company says in a statement.
February 2017 – The drug company Merck halts the late-stage trial of its Alzheimer’s drug verubecestat, after an independent study found that it had “virtually no chance” of working.
July 25, 2018 – Additional results of an early clinical trial for an experimental drug, the antibody called BAN2401, shows that it improved cognition and reduced clinical signs of Alzheimer’s in the brains of study participants. Details about the immunotherapy were announced at a news conference during the 2018 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.