Deaths from Alzheimer’s vastly under reported new study confirms

Alzheimer's brain

 

A study released this week in the highly regarded scientific journal NEUROLOGY confirms what people familiar with Alzheimer’s have long known in their hearts.

Alzheimer’s disease is much more than a mass murderer.

It is guilty of genocide. 

The abstract of the study states the results in these chilling and shocking words:

“An estimated 503,400 deaths in Americans aged 75 years and older were attributable to AD dementia in 2010.” 

Its conclusion is no less devastating.

“Conclusions: A larger number of deaths are attributable to AD dementia in the United States each year than the number (<84,000 in 2010) reported on death certificates.”

A report issued in 2010 by the Centers for Disease Control had put the number of annual deaths from Alzheimer’s at 83,494.

In the NEUROLOGY study, 2,500 test subjects agreed to allow researchers to autopsy their brains.  A brain autopsy is the only method currently available to make a definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

These results mean that deaths from Alzheimer’s disease now rank very near those of heart disease and cancer, the only two other diseases that account for at least 500,000 deaths annually.

Why have deaths from Alzheimer’s been so greatly under reported?  

The reason is really quite simple.

Death certificates contain the immediate cause of death, such as pneumonia. They do not record the fact that the pneumonia may have been the end result of years of decline from Alzheimer’s.

This fact coupled with the stigma attached to a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s has allowed the under reporting to continue for years.

Until now.

As baby boomers move into their 70s and 80s, the ages where Alzheimer’s is  most rampant, the annual deaths will increase far beyond the estimated numbers for 2010.

Alzheimer’s is a growing epidemic, not a disease that will soon be eradicated.

These sobering statistics provide a clarion call to members of Congress.

The search for a cure can only succeed if sufficient resources are devoted to it.

Right now funding for Alzheimer’s research is only about one-teenth of that  for heart disease and cancer.

That must change, and it must change now, not ten years from now.

 

 

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