Testing for Alzheimer’s Disease Takes on Increased Urgency as Number of Patients Worldwide is Expected to Triple to 152 Million by 2050

“The diagnosis can determine if people have Alzheimer’s disease, or if they have contributing factors such as Lewy body dementia, stroke, or vitamin deficiencies that can impact memory loss,” says expert from a top American hospital, Cleveland Clinic, ahead of World Alzheimer’s Monthin September

Wednesday, September 22, 2021, CLEVELAND, Ohio: As the number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease is set to triple to 152 million by 2050, potential patients are encouraged to get tested to accurately diagnose and treat memory-loss symptoms early on, according to a leading expert at a top American hospital, Cleveland Clinic, marking World Alzheimer’s Monththis September.

Dr. James Leverenz, Director of the Center for Brain Health at Cleveland Clinic, and Director of the Cleveland Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, said: “As people live longer, it’s leading to a dramatic increase in Alzheimer’s, and while treatments to slow the progression of the disease are not quite here yet, there are also ways to manage symptoms through medications and non-medication interventions. The most important factor for older patients who think they may have Alzheimer’s is to get a diagnosis from their doctor. The diagnosis can determine if they have Alzheimer’s, or if they have contributing factors such as Lewy body dementia, stroke, metabolic changes or vitamin deficiencies that can impact memory loss.”

Alzheimer’s is the most common kind of dementia, a general term referring to changes in memory loss and day-to-day functioning. World Alzheimer’s Month is being held under the theme “Know Dementia: The Importance of a Timely Diagnosis.” Diagnosis for patients is fairly straightforward, as a doctor will usually conduct a brain image using a CT Scan or MRI, along with blood tests, and possibly a spinal fluid test, to determine any other factors.

Worldwide, there are 50 million people with dementia, which is expected double every 20 years to reach 82 million in 2030 and 152 million by 2050, according to Alzheimer’s Disease International, the organizers of World Alzheimer’s Month.  Much of the increase in people living with dementia will be in developing countries, which have 60 percent of current patients, whichis expected grow to 71 percent by 2050, especially in China, South Asia, and the Western Pacific.

“In managing the disease,many medications that can treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s are now in generic form, so they can be distributed at a relatively inexpensive cost in lower-tomiddle-income countries,” added Dr. Leverenz. “Patients should also lead healthy lifestyles, such as exercise, eat healthy diets, and see their clinicians to control general medical issues such as high cholesterol.”

Supporting innovation in Alzheimer’s disease, the Cleveland Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center was recently awarded a new 5-year USD 15.4 million grant by the National Institute of Health’s National Institute on Aging to accelerate research for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

“This is an exciting time to investigate and treat Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, as we’re starting to identify patients early on in the process, identify the sub-types of Alzheimer’s disease that we may want to treat differently, and test experimental treatments that can prevent or treat the disease itself,” concluded Dr. Leverenz. “We’re researching the genetics behind atypical Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia and other forms of dementia. We’re also looking at new therapeutics that can treat Alzheimer’s disease by attacking amyloid and beta-amyloid proteins, and neurofibrillary tangles of unusual accumulations of proteins in the brain.”


About Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic – now in its centennial year – is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 70,800 employees worldwide are more than 4,660 salaried physicians and researchers, and 18,500 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,500-bed health system that includes a 173-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 19 hospitals, more than 220 outpatient facilities, and locations in southeast Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2020, there were 8.7 million total outpatient visits, 273,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 217,000surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 185 countries. Visit us at clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at twitter.com/ClevelandClinic.