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Remember when the Boomers were all 20-somethings, with bell bottoms dragging on the ground and guitars hanging around their necks? Boy times have changed. Today, Boomers are quickly becoming a far less glamorous group: the dementia generation. Within 20 years, because of Americans’ increased longevity as well as the aging of Boomers, the number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is expected increase almost 40 percent across the country.

By 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, the country will see 1 million new cases each year.

The coming Alzheimer’s boom bears dire implications across the spectrum of public and private life, impacting policies regarding health care, housing, retirement and transportation — and changing the future forever for an enormous number of families.

“The impact on our nation will be huge,” said Ruth Gay, Northern California chapter public policy director for the Alzheimer’s Association. “We’re already in crisis with Medicare and Medicaid funding, and now we’ll have the baby boom coming along.

“In terms of public health, if you had the bird flu virus in these numbers, we’d be allocating research funding to find a cause and a cure.”

This much is known: Alzheimer’s results from the buildup of abnormal proteins in the brain, causing premature brain cell death and brain atrophy. As the disease develops, symptoms can include memory loss, confusion, aggression, delusions and withdrawal. Medication can slow the progress of the illness but cannot prevent it.

One in eight Californians 55 and older will develop Alzheimer’s, which is the state’s sixth leading cause of death. The disease causes 70 percent of all brain dementias.

But specialists know there are ways to lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s — for most people, at least.

To put it simply, what’s good for the heart is good for the brain, including light exercise, a moderate diet and keeping weight and blood pressure in check.

“A family history of Alzheimer’s can be relevant, but that’s not the huge risk factor people think it is,” said Dr. Shawn Kile, the neurologist who helped found Sacramento’s Memory Clinic.

Researchers have found a strong genetic link only in the 5 percent of patients who have early onset Alzheimer’s, diagnosed before age 60. Fully half of their offspring will inherit the gene.

Source: YellowBrix, The Sacramento Bee 

The baby boomers possess different characteristics from any preceding groups of that age:

Remember when the Boomers were all 20-somethings, with bell bottoms dragging on the ground and guitars hanging around their necks? Boy times have changed. Today, Boomers are quickly becoming a far less glamorous group: the dementia generation. Within 20 years, because of Americans’ increased longevity as well as the aging of Boomers, the number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is expected increase almost 40 percent across the country.

By 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, the country will see 1 million new cases each year.

The coming Alzheimer’s boom bears dire implications across the spectrum of public and private life, impacting policies regarding health care, housing, retirement and transportation — and changing the future forever for an enormous number of families.

“The impact on our nation will be huge,” said Ruth Gay, Northern California chapter public policy director for the Alzheimer’s Association. “We’re already in crisis with Medicare and Medicaid funding, and now we’ll have the baby boom coming along.

“In terms of public health, if you had the bird flu virus in these numbers, we’d be allocating research funding to find a cause and a cure.”

This much is known: Alzheimer’s results from the buildup of abnormal proteins in the brain, causing premature brain cell death and brain atrophy. As the disease develops, symptoms can include memory loss, confusion, aggression, delusions and withdrawal. Medication can slow the progress of the illness but cannot prevent it.

One in eight Californians 55 and older will develop Alzheimer’s, which is the state’s sixth leading cause of death. The disease causes 70 percent of all brain dementias.

But specialists know there are ways to lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s — for most people, at least.

To put it simply, what’s good for the heart is good for the brain, including light exercise, a moderate diet and keeping weight and blood pressure in check.

“A family history of Alzheimer’s can be relevant, but that’s not the huge risk factor people think it is,” said Dr. Shawn Kile, the neurologist who helped found Sacramento’s Memory Clinic.

Researchers have found a strong genetic link only in the 5 percent of patients who have early onset Alzheimer’s, diagnosed before age 60. Fully half of their offspring will inherit the gene.

Source: YellowBrix, The Sacramento Bee

3 Comments

  1. andrew says:

    good work so far

  2. andrew says:

    U go Andrew

  3. andrew says:

    A family history of Alzheimer’s can be relevant, but that’s not the huge risk factor people think it is,” said Dr. Shawn Kile, the neurologist who helped found Sacramento’s Memory Clinic.

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