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Alzheimer's is a devastating brain disease. It doesn't just rob sufferers of their ability to think, remember, and reason. It also places a massive burden on families, caregivers, and the economy.

And as people in the United States live longer, far more of them will be stricken with the disease, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Within 40 years, the number of people in the United States with Alzheimer's disease will almost triple, from about 5 million to nearly 14 million.

That's not simply due to population growth. The overall proportion of Americans with Alzheimer's disease will jump from about 1.6 percent to an estimated 3.3 percent by 2060, according to the report, which was published Wednesday in Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association.


There's a bright side to this news. According to a CDC press release, the "increases are a result of fewer people dying from other chronic diseases and surviving into older adulthood when the risk for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias increases."

In other words: we're better at treating other diseases, so we're inadvertently increasing the size of the population susceptible to Alzheimer's. Since we obviously don't want to slow down that progress, then, we're going to need to make Alzheimer's research a priority.

Right now, there's no cure for Alzheimer's, and the only way we know to prevent it is through healthy lifestyle choices. We're going to need to do better than that if we want to avoid a future in which the burden of the disease weighs even more heavily on our strained economy and healthcare system.

READ MOREU.S. Alzheimer's Cases to Nearly Triple by 2060 [U.S. News]

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