By Brittany Shoot
September 20, 2018

The number of people with Alzheimer’s and related dementias will double by 2060, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a report published Thursday.

The study is the first ever to project Alzheimer’s and dementia rates by race and ethnicity. Overall, the burden of Alzheimer’s on the population is expected to grow by 13.9 million between now and the year 2060 to 417 million. “This study shows that as the U.S. population increases, the number of people affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias will rise, especially among minority populations,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. in a statement.

In 2014, 5 million people, or 1.6% of the U.S. population, had Alzheimer’s. By 2060, nearly 417 million, or 3.3%, are expected to be diagnosed, according to the study, which was published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association and coincides with World Alzheimer’s Day, a global Alzheimer’s awareness day that falls on Sept. 21, 2018.

Alzheimer’s is the fifth most common cause of death in the United States behind heart disease and several cancers. Because there’s been little advance toward new treatments in the past 15 years, AARP in June joined the nation’s largest insurer, UnitedHealth Group, and lab testing giant Quest Diagnostics, to commit $75 million to fighting Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s research can be difficult to parse at times, but minor advances in drug treatments and possible cures continue. For example, elephants, socially driven herd animals that possess extraordinary late-life memory in their massive brains, have also offered some clues about why the Alzheimer’s rate in climbing in the U.S. Several studies have shown that Americans who suffer from social disengagement in older age are more susceptible to mental deterioration.

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