4.01.2009

Cognitive Decline: An Accelerating Problem
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A Brain Silenced Every 70 Seconds: It's Important to Get Involved, For Your Future and Others'

By the time you finish these first few paragraphs, Alzheimer’s disease will strike someone else. The attack on the brain will make someone lose track of the steps needed to place a phone call or remember the name of common items.

The fatal disease creeps up on someone new every 70 seconds. As the population ages, the rate will rise to every 33 seconds by mid-century, according to a study from the Alzheimer’s Association. 5.3 Million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer's (as diagnosed) and many more have not been diagnosed or have early stage impairment. This represents a 47% increase in 5 years, while the percentage growth of fatalities caused by cancers and heart disease have actually decreased during this period (WebMD).

The costs are mind-boggling. As families deal with the emotional aspects of Mom or Dad no longer recalling sons' or daughters' names, they also face giving up or cutting back on their jobs so they can care for loved ones.

About 70 percent of people with Alzheimer’s are cared for by family members, according to the Alzheimer’s Association study, titled "Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures."

Costs By the numbers

Medicare costs tied to Alzheimer’s are expected to more than double the $91 billion in 2005 to $189 billion by 2015.

What's encouraging is the recognition that while age is the greatest risk factor, WebMD has recognized genetics as the 2nd risk factor, along with lifestyle.

Taking personal interest in your cognitive fitness and other aspects of your health and biometrics will help us experience life close to our full potential, whatever stage we're at presently - and on into the future. That's where the power of the Internet intervenes to make this dream possible.

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