News / Health

Study Shows Alzheimer's Hits Women Hardest

Vidushi Sinha

A new study on Alzheimer's disease shows that women end up bearing most of the burden - as caregivers, advocates for those with the disease and as victims of the disease itself. The report asks Congress to pass a comprehensive strategy to manage this growing US epidemic. But the epidemic is not limited to western countries.

Every seven seconds, a new case of dementia is diagnosed somewhere in the world, according to the Alzheimer's Association.  

A new report takes a look at Alzheimer's, a disease expected to triple in 40 years because it's associated with aging, and people the world over are living longer.

The report was produced by the Alzheimer's Association and Maria Shriver, California's First Lady.

Shriver's life has been touched by Alzheimer's. Her father was diagnosed with the disease in 2003.

That experience was the catalyst for The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's.

"Sixty percent of the people who get it are women," said Maria Shriver. "They're also doing the caretaking. And millions of these women are also working full-time."

The report examines Alzheimer's in the U.S. It shows that women account for almost two-thirds of those with the disease. They are also 60 percent of the unpaid caregivers. Scientists and sociologists are calling this disease - a women's disease.

Dr. Ted Rothstein, a neurologist at George Washington University Medical Center, says women are more affected because men have shorter lifespans.

"When you reach the 75 to 85 age group, there are many more women out there than men, and the prevalence of the disease becomes more likely in women simply because there are more women around who are still living in their 80s and 85s," said Dr. Rothstein.

The report predicts Americans will spend $20 trillion over the next 40 years on Alzheimer's. It stresses the need for more funding for research and a national strategy to deal with the disease.

"Heart disease and cancer get $6 billion, $5 billion, and Alzheimer's gets $500 million," said Maria Shriver. "And, in fact, it's going to be Alzheimer's in the next several years that's going to get those people way before cancer or heart disease."

Dr. Rothstein says there needs to be more research on one of two proteins that accumulate in the brains of those with Alzheimer's. The proteins are called tau and amyloids.   

"It's only recently that people have been focusing on tau as the source for Alzheimer's disease so maybe the buildup of amyloids in the brain is secondary to the accumulation of these tau proteins," he said. "So we may have been barking up the wrong tree and maybe the big pharmaceutical companies have been following the wrong clue."

As the world's population ages, the number of people affected by Alzheimer's is expected to increase dramatically. There is no cure. Existing treatments only ease the symptoms.

Meanwhile Alzheimer cases are expected to affect 80 million people globally by 2040. Sixty percent will be in developing countries.

A disproportionate number of those cases will be women without access to effective treatment.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid