Dementia Might Affect Half a Million U.S. Residents Ages 55 to 64
Alzheimer's disease and dementia might affect almost half a million U.S. residents between the ages of 55 and 64, according to a study by the Alzheimer's Association, the Los Angeles Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 6/7). The report is based on a 2000 survey conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan (Washington Post, 6/7).
The report finds that 480,000 people between the ages 55 and 64 have cognitive impairments severe enough to be disabling. Report findings also indicate a need for better diagnosis and treatment options for people in this age group (Los Angeles Times, 6/7).
At an Alzheimer's Association public policy forum on Tuesday, hosted by Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), findings released from the report included the following:
- Early onset dementia patients on average earn less than $18,000 (Abruzzese, CQ HealthBeat, 6/6);
- Many affected people ages 55 to 64 are still working when symptoms first emerge, affecting job performance; and
- Those who leave the workforce before their condition degenerates often are unable to obtain public or private insurance to cover treatment (Los Angeles Times, 6/7).
Rodham Clinton urged those in attendance to support legislation for further Alzheimer's research.
Collins said that when "Alzheimer's strikes before age 65, it can create additional problems because it is so unexpected."
Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) said that there is a "critical" need for research funding but that she does not believe legislation will move forward (Abruzzese, CQ Healthbeat, 6/6).