Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, which is a general term used for memory loss and loss of other like kind intellectual abilities that are serious enough to interfere with a person’s daily life. Alzheimer’s accounts for 50 to 80 percent of all dementia cases. In an on-going study of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers suggest that modifying therapies in patients should be targeted toward earlier stages of the disease before symptoms that are more serious have time to develop, and therefore, they are testing prevention strategies.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition that gradually worsens dementia over a period of years. Memory loss is mild in the early stages; however, as late stage Alzheimer’s sets in, individuals lose their ability to speak using a rational conversation or respond to the environment around them.
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and most patients live on average approximately eight years after their symptoms initially begin to show. However, the length of survival is different depending on the patient’s age and other medical conditions.
In an on-going study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers noted that profound brain alterations are formed as much as 10 to 20 years before mild cognitive impairment or dementia is diagnosed. They estimate that by the time memory loss begins and other problems with cognition become apparent, too much damage has been done to the brain and therefore cannot be reversed by experimental treatments.