If you have a relative suffering from Alzheimer's disease, you know how devastating this neurological condition can be not just for the patient but also for the whole family. A new study says that the problem will get much worse in the next 40 years because the number of people with Alzheimer's is expected to triple.
Who will be the new victims be? Basically – it's us, aging Baby Boomers, according to researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. The researchers looked at medical data from nearly 11,000 African-Americans and Caucasians living in Chicago who were at least 65 between 1993 and 2011. The participants were re-interviewed every three years and assessed for dementia. That information was combined with statistics about death rates and future population estimates from the Census Bureau.
Using that information, they projected that the total number of Americans with Alzheimer's in 2050 would be nearly 14 million, compared to just under 5 million in 2010. About half would be 85 or older.
If there's any good news here, it's that scientists are learning more and more about how Alzheimer's starts and what can be done to slow its progression. There are no firm answers at this point, but the research does suggest that paying attention to your healthat midlife can lower your risk.