Alzheimer’s disease (AD) affects more than five million individuals in the United States1 and is now the third leading cause of death in the country.2 It is the most common type of dementia and develops when nerve cells in the brain no longer function normally. It is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory, thinking skills and the ability to carry out simple tasks of daily living.3 Alzheimer’s disease is incurable, untreatable and fatal.4
While the quest to find a way to prevent AD remains critical, there are currently millions of Americans already living with mild-to-moderate AD, the stage at which the decline in cognitive function becomes apparent to friends and family. Mild-to-moderate AD includes a spectrum of symptoms, from forgetfulness about one’s personal history and becoming moody and withdrawn in social situations to an inability to identify the day of the week or where they are. The logistical and financial needs related to caring for someone with AD can impact the entire family, and the gradual, permanent decline in their loved one’s mental and physical capabilities often takes a deep emotional toll.
“While the quest to find a way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease remains critical, there are currently millions of Americans already living with mild-to-moderate AD”
As a result of the ability to identify markers of AD early, prevention of the disease has become a significant focus in the research and medical community. While this research remains vital to the hope of one day finding a cure, studies have already shown that the anti-amyloid approach is not effective in the mild-to-moderate AD population. No new drug has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of AD since 2003.
- B. D. James, S. E. Leurgans, L. E. Hebert, P. A. Scherr, K. Yaffe, D. A. Bennett. Contribution of Alzheimer disease to mortality in the United States. Neurology, 2014; DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000240