Aging Society and Alzheimer’s Disease (pp. 177-187)
Authors: (Kun Zou)
Abstract: Life expectancy around the world has increased steadily for nearly 200 years. The continuing increase in life expectancy has made us face age-related diseases that we overlooked in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Age is by far the biggest risk factor for a wide range of clinical conditions that are prevalent today. Although cardiovascular diseases and cancers still remain the leading causes of death for both men and women among age-related diseases, Alzheimer's disease has been in the spotlight recently because the number of its patients is increasing at an unexpected speed. Onset of Alzheimer's disease begins with short-term memory loss in its early stage and gradually the sufferer loses minor, and then major bodily functions, until death occurs. Unlike cardiovascular diseases and cancers, current knowledge of the processes leading to Alzheimer‘s disease is still limited, and very few effective treatments are available. Many treatment strategies have reached the clinical trial stage and some hopeful clinical trials failed to improve the survival or the cognitive ability of Alzheimer‘s patients. Up to now, clinically validated treatments for Alzheimer‘s disease remain confined to symptomatic interventions and recent studies suggest that frequent cognitive activity in old age has been associated with reduced risk of Alzheimer‘s disease. Thus, preventive strategies have become important in our daily life against aging and Alzheimer‘s disease.