Understanding Your Disease

Quick Facts About Alzheimer's Disease

  • Alzheimer's disease is the sixth-leading cause of death across all ages in the United States. For those 65 and older, it is the fifth-leading cause of death.
  • More than 5 million Americans now have Alzheimer's disease.
  • By 2050, nearly 14 million Americans over age 65 could be living with the disease
  • Every 67 seconds, someone in America develops Alzheimer's.
  • It is estimated that nearly 500,000 new cases of Alzheimer's disease will be diagnosed this year.
  • Nearly 44 million people worldwide are believed to be living with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias.

What Is Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia is a progressive, terminal brain disorder that has no known cause or cure. Alzheimer’s steals the minds of its victims, leading to:

  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Cognitive problems
  • Inability to communicate or care for oneself

The need for a cure is more urgent than ever. Unless scientists can unlock the secrets of this disease, the number of cases is expected to triple by the year 2050. This epidemic could overwhelm our health care system.

The disease is also hard on families, who provide the majority of caregiving. About 7 out of 10 people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias are cared for at home. Caregiving can be difficult—family and other unpaid caregivers may experience high levels of emotional stress and depression.

Alzheimer's Disease Research Program (ADR)

Alzheimer's Disease Research, a program of the BrightFocus Foundation, funds research on and educates the public about Alzheimer's. Since the program's inception, ADR has awarded more than $93.7 million to support promising research on topics, including research into the causes and potential treatments of this disease.

There is still hope in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists around the world are working to conquer this disease, to learn more about the condition in its very earliest phases, years before symptoms appear. The goals are to detect Alzheimer’s early, when treatments are most likely to be effective, and to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Read more about the research we fund to help scientists find better treatments and a cure.

Clinical Trials

If you have Alzheimer’s, you can take part in the search for a cure by participating in human clinical trials occurring across the nation. In many Alzheimer’s clinical trials, older participants, in particular, are encouraged to join. However, you do not need to have the disease in order to participate in clinical studies. Some trials are also studying caregivers. If you would like to help find a cure for the next generation, learn more about how clinical trials work.