Quick Facts About Alzheimer's Disease

  • Alzheimer's disease is the seventh-leading cause of death across all ages in the United States. For those 65 and older, it is the seventh-leading cause of death.

  • An estimated 6.5 million Americans older than 65 have Alzheimer’s.

  • By 2050, nearly 12.7 million Americans over age 65 could be living with the disease

  • Every 65 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.

  • Worldwide, at least 50 million people are believed to be living with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias.

An illustration of a cross-section of a woman's head. The brain has various highlights of bright circular regions.

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.

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
An adult son sitting on a couch and comforting his father.

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 nearly $170 million to support promising research on topics, including research into the causes and potential treatments of this disease.

A woman scientist looking through microscope.

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.

A nurse taking the blood pressure of a patient.

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.