New research is showing that people who carry the gene for Alzheimer’s show changes in their brains beginning in childhood. The gene is one factor in the risk of developing disease but other factors such as poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking and high blood pressure all contribute as well.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. It is a progressive disease that affects memory, thinking and behaviour. Most people suffering from the illness are over age 65, but early onset Alzheimer’s can affect people as young as 40. Diagnosis remains complicated in that there is no single test to determine that a person has the disease.
The substantial economic costs are expected to greatly increase in coming years. Currently the combined medical and lost earnings costs are $33 billion and expected to increase to as much as $293 billion by 2040.
For more information, visit Alzheimer Society Canada www.alzheimer.ca
Winter 2014 edition of the Best Doctors Report
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