(HealthDay News) – By 2050, an estimated 13.8 million Americans over the age of 65 years will have Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia, according to a study published online Feb. 6 in Neurology.

Liesi E. Hebert, ScD, from the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging in Chicago, and colleagues calculated the probabilities of AD dementia incidence based on a longitudinal, population-based study. Within a population of 10,800 individuals, weighted logistic regression and AD dementia diagnosis from 2,577 detailed clinical evaluations for 1,913 previously disease-free individuals were used to examine the incidence probabilities for single year of age, race, and level of education. These data were merged with U.S. mortality, education, and new U.S. Census Bureau estimates of current and future population.

The researchers estimated that there were 4.7 million individuals aged 65 years or older with AD dementia in 2010. Of those with AD dementia, 0.7 million were aged 65–74 years, 2.3 million were aged 75–84 years, and 1.8 million were aged ≥85 years. In 2050, the total number of people with AD dementia was projected to reach 13.8 million, of which 7.0 million will be aged ≥85 years.

“The number of people with AD dementia is projected to nearly triple between 2010 and 2050,” the authors write. “These projections emphasize the need to find either prevention or treatment for AD dementia in order to decrease the burden of future disease on individuals, families, and the medical care system.”

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