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Alzheimer's disease deaths climb almost 55 percent

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MADISON, Wis. - A report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows deaths in the U.S. jumped 54.5 percent over a 15 year period, from 1999 to 2014.

The significant increase is tied to two factors.

One involves improvements in treatments for conditions, like heart disease, that are allowing people to live longer and create a larger aging population.

Improvements in diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease are also increasing the numbers.

“We’re doing a better job of trying to recognize the disease. So before a primary care provider maybe wouldn’t attribute a death to Alzheimer’s disease. Maybe they say it happened from pneumonia, whereas now they might say they died from pneumonia, but the underlying cause was the Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Cynthia Carlsson, an associate professor of medicine and geriatrics at the University of Wisconsin.

The statistics broken down by state shows Alzheimer’s disease deaths in Wisconsin climbed 25.5 percent during the same 15 years period.

The CDC report also predicts the number of Alzheimer’s disease cases in the U.S. to quadruple by 2050.

“The importance of the research is critical right now. That’s why we see a lot more attention being drawn to it because the numbers are just starting to increase to where we’re going to see that number skyrocket. So the time to prevent this disease is right now,” said Dr. Carlsson.

The university created the UW Initiative to End Alzheimer’s.

For more information about the research being done and how you can help, visit: www.memoriesmatteruw.org

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