By Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Dec. 7, 2017 (HealthDay News) – As the baby boom population ages, the number of Americans with Alzheimer's disease will double by 2060, they report. the researchers.  The study's findings, which show cases of Alzheimer's and mild cognitive impairment ranging from 6 million this year to 15 million in four decades, highlight the need to better identify people with a brain-related disease and decrease their progression.  "Today in the United States there are some 47 million people who have some evidence of preclinical Alzheimer's," said the study's author, Ron Brookmeyer. He is a professor of biostatistics at the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles.
"Many of them will not progress to Alzheimer's dementia in their lives, we need to have improved methods to identify which people will progress to clinical symptoms, and develop interventions for them that could slow the progression of the disease, if not stop it completely, "Brookmeyer said in a UCLA press release.
The researchers used information from large Alzheimer's studies to create a computer model to estimate the number of future Alzheimer's cases.
Researchers determined that by the year 2060, about 5.7 million Americans will have mild cognitive impairment and another 9.3 million will have full-blown Alzheimer's. Of people with Alzheimer's, around 4 million will need intensive care, like those provided by nursing homes.
"Estimates by disease status and severity are important because the resources needed to care for patients vary widely in the course of the disease," Brookmeyer said.
People with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) have a significant loss of short-term memory, but they do not necessarily have problems with daily functioning. While those with MCI are more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, MCI does not always lead to dementia. In full-blown Alzheimer's disease, the symptoms are more severe and include memory loss and problems with judgment and thinking, problems with normal daily activities and, sometimes, changes in personality.
The study was published on December 7 in Alzheimer's and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association .