Why I am riding....both my Dad and Grandfather had it, but this video from the Alzheimer's Association shows how common it is among women. Sad.
The Reason for the Ride...My Father
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Alzheimer's and Dementia can rob one not only of memory but of self-respect and take the glitter out of the golden years.
Historically, Alzheimer's research has been grossly underfunded. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) dedicated $5.3 billion to cancer research in 2013, nearly $3 billion to HIV/AIDS, $1.2 billion to heart disease and $1 billion to diabetes. Alzheimer's research received just over $500 million. While the number of deaths due to HIV, stroke, heart disease and prostate cancer all declined between 2000 and 2010, deaths attributable to Alzheimer's increased 68 percent, according to the Alzheimer's Association. It is now the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., and a study published earlier this month suggested Alzheimer's deaths are dramatically undercounted (Jones, Abigail, “Alzheimer's Is Expensive, Deadly and Growing. So Where's the Research Money?”, http://mag.newsweek.com/2014/04/04/alzheimers-expensive-deadly-growing-wheres-research-money.html, 03/27/14).
Women in their 60s are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's as breast cancer. And by the time a woman turns 65, her estimated lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer's is 1 in 6 (it's nearly 1 in 11 for men). Nearly one quarter of American adults mistakenly believe the disease is hereditary. When asked about which illness they were most fearful of getting, Americans 60 and older rank Alzheimer's or dementia (35 percent) above cancer (23 percent) and stroke (15 percent) (Jones, Ibid).
Where progress has been made is in detection. When the disease develops, two abnormal structures—called plaques and tangles—disrupt nerve cells' all-important workflow in the brain, contributing to cell death. Almost everyone develops some plaques and tangles as they grow older, but those with Alzheimer's have far more. Until recently, the only way scientists could tell, for sure, if a person had Alzheimer's was to conduct an autopsy. Now, they can use new brain scan technology or test spinal fluid to test for signs before symptoms show up...and organizations like The Fisher Center are at the forefront for figuring out the causes for this plaque formation...in the eventual hope for a way to delay the onset or defeat it outright.
The following facts and figures are from www.brightfocus.org: