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Number of Patients With Dementia on the Rise
Date:7/6/2009

ANN ARBOR, Mich., July 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At 81, Alberta Sabin's mind is not as sharp as it used to be, and she knows it.

She frequently misplaces common items, forgets names and appointments, some of the most frustrating aspects of memory loss, she says.

"I had been looking for my cell phone for three days and would you believe I found it laying on the counter in plain sight?," Sabin says. "There it was and I thought why didn't I see it before?"

It is that frustration that motivated Sabin to participate in U-M sponsored research designed to better diagnose and treat dementia before it escalates.

Sabin is one of millions of Americans who experience memory loss and may eventually be diagnosed with dementia.

"This is an explosive disease," says Sid Gilman, M.D., director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at University of Michigan Health System, who conducts research with Sabin and others in her community. "It's a horrible disease that robs people of their humanity. They forget their families and friends."

Roughly 50 percent of people who reach 85 will become demented, according to studies conducted by investigators at Rush Medical Center in Chicago.

By age 100, the number spikes to 60 percent. Of those who develop dementia, roughly 60 percent will prove to have Alzheimer's disease. It's predicted that the current number of patients with Alzheimer's disease in the United States is roughly 5 million. By the year 2050, it will grow to about 30 million, presenting a significant financial burden to the healthcare system.

Gilman and other researchers at the Michigan Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (MADRC), have a keen interest in patients like Sabin. The center first received grant support from the National Institutes of Health in 1989 and has continued to receive funding since.

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SOURCE University of Michigan Health System
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