Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic, neurodegenerative disease characterized by loss of memory and changes in behaviour in the early stage. It typically starts slowly and progresses, within a decade, to death from an external factor, such as an infection or pneumonia, or the person’s body completely shuts down. According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, 747,000 Canadians were living with dementia in 2013-2014. Worldwide, that number is 44.4 million for the same period. As our population ages, the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease grows.
January is Alzheimer awareness month in Canada. For several years, I worked at the national office of the Alzheimer Society and helped to raise awareness of the disease and educate Canadians about the warning signs. With a grandfather and great aunt who died with the disease, I watch with interest any scientific developments in this field.
This year’s Canadian awareness campaign is focused on the large percentage of women affected by the disease – 72 percent – either through diagnosis or caregiving. The Society encourages Canadians to know the 10 warning signs and share them with the women in your life.
Watch the video below to learn about Alzheimer’s disease from expert Lawrence Goldstein, University of California San Diego, and how stem cells might treat the disease.
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