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Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer's is a progressive neurodegenerative disease in which affected nerve cells in the brain die, making it increasingly difficult for the brain's memory and learning areas to function properly. A person with Alzheimer's disease has problems with memory, judgment and thinking, making it hard for the person to work or take part in normal day-to-day activities. The death of the nerve cells occurs gradually over a period of years. Adeona believes that dysfunction of proper zinc and copper handling in the brain is implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it is estimated that today over 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and that America spends $183 billion caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Forecasts show that with the aging of the baby boomers, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s will likely reach 13.5 million in 2050 — and could be as high as 16 million.

Alzheimer’s disease affects the patients and their caregivers. The number of Alzheimer’s caregivers is expected to increase as the population ages and as the number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease grows. Spouses, relatives, and friends, experience tremendous emotional, physical and financial challenges during the years they are caregiving. As the disease progresses, the abilities of people with Alzheimer’s steadily decline and family members face difficult, and often costly, decisions about the long-term care of their loved ones.

In April 2011, the U.S. National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association developed new guidelines for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease. These guidelines recognize three distinct stages of this fatal brain disorder: preclinical Alzheimer's, mild cognitive impairment and dementia due to Alzheimer’s. The revised guidelines for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease could double the population size and may be useful in developing a research strategy for people who may be at risk for Alzheimer's.