- Currently four million Americans are diagnosed with Alzheimer's
disease. The percentage of cases is on the rise with solid research showing
that there are about 360,000 individuals newly diagnosed each year.
- At Yale University and the Penn State University at Pittsburgh,
researchers recently studied the brains of people who died of Alzheimer's
disease (46 in the Yale case and 54 in the Pittsburgh study). Surprisingly,
the autopsies respectively showed that 13 percent and five percent of the
dead were actually CJD cases misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's disease.
- In a third (smaller) study published in the Journal of
Psychiatry and Neuroscience (1995), investigators reported that three out
of 12 patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease were found to have had
CJD when autopsied. It should be noted CJD symptoms may be remarkably similar
to those of Alzheimer's disease.
- There are no accurate figures for the total number of
U.S. Alzheimer's deaths each year, simply because it doesn't usually get
reported as the cause of death. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported
only 22,725 Alzheimer's deaths in 1998. However, a spokesperson for the
National Alzheimer's Association, in a recent interview, agreed that the
actual number could easily be 100,000, or even has high as 400,000 per
year. Because Alzheimer's patients usually die within 8 to 10 years, she
agreed that the CDC numbers must be grossly understated. If new research
supports that approximately 10 percent of all Alzheimer's disease related
deaths are in fact misdiagnosed CJD cases, then 10,000 to 40,000 CJD deaths
will suddenly appear in America each year. That would be an epidemic.