Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disease of the brain that impairs mental skills and abilities and undermines independent living. It is estimated to affect over 44 million people worldwide, and 5.3 million people in the United States at an estimated cost of US$226 billion. The numbers of people affected are expected to increase dramatically over the next few decades along with increased life expectancy, and costs are expected to be over US$1 trillion by 2050. There is currently no cure, and accurate diagnosis in primary care is hampered by a lack of widely available, reliable, and specific forms of assessment. Accurate diagnosis is essential to avoid inappropriate and expensive clinical follow-up, to evaluate new treatments when these become available, to avoid underestimating or overestimating prevalence of the disease, and to inform policy priorities on resource allocation for health care and for research. We argue that the cognitive and behavioral sciences offer an important route to developing widely available, inexpensive, reliable, and specific assessment tools for the disease.
|Number of pages
|Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences
|Published - Oct 2015