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Alzheimer’s Disease

Background

  • Alzheimer’s Disease is a degenerative brain disease and the most common form of dementia. Between 50 and 70 percent of people with dementia suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease1.
  • Dementia starts in late middle age or in old age, and results in progressive memory loss, impaired thinking, disorientation, and changes in personality and mood, that lead, in advanced cases, to a profound decline in cognitive and physical functioning.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease slowly and progressively destroys brain cells, particularly in the cerebral cortex. It is characterised by the presence of neurofibrillary tangles and plaques containing beta-amyloid – an amino acid chain most commonly associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Scale of the issue

  • Approximately one person out of twenty over the age of 65 suffers from Alzheimer’s disease as opposed to less than one person in a thousand under the age of 652.
  • By 2025, the percentage of people in the EU aged over 65 is predicted to rise from 15.4% of the population to 22.4%, which is likely to correlate with a rise in Alzheimer’s disease3. A 2014 report from Alzheimer’s Europe suggests the overall incidence has not changed over recent decades, but the prevalence in the oldest females was higher than previously thought4.
  • Approximately 26 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease world-wide3.

Parkinson’s Disease

Background

  • Parkinson’s Disease is a chronic, progressive neurological disease predominantly developed in later life.
  • It is characterized by tremor of resting muscles, rigidity, slowness of movement, impaired balance, and a shuffling gait.
  • Parkinson’s Disease is linked to decreased dopamine (a neurotransmitter) production in the substantia nigra – a layer of large pigmented nerve cells in the midbrain.

Scale of the issue

  • In Europe, almost 1.2 million people are estimated to have Parkinson’s Disease, with about 75,000 new cases diagnosed every year5.
  • The age of onset of Parkinson’s Disease is usually over 60, but it is estimated that one in ten people are diagnosed before the age of 50, with slightly more men than women affected6.
  • According to the Global Declaration for Parkinson’s Disease, 6.3 million people have Parkinson’s worldwide and it affects all races and cultures6.

For more information on the burden of neurological disorders (European and global data), and estimates and projections, visit http://www.who.int/mental_health/neurology/neurological_disorders_report_web.pdf

 

References

  1. Alzheimer Europe (2010) ‘Alzheimer’s disease’ Available at: http://www.alzheimer-europe.org/EN/Dementia/Alzheimer-s-disease
  2. Alzheimer Europe (2009) ‘Who is affected by Alzheimer’s disease?’ Available at: http://www.alzheimer-europe.org/index.php/Dementia/Alzheimer-s-disease/Who-is-affected-by-Alzheimer-s-disease
  3. Alzheimer Europe (2010) ‘The impact of Alzheimer’s disease in Europe’ Available at: http://www.alzheimer-europe.org/EN/Research/PharmaCog/Why-Pharmacog/(language)/eng-GB
  4. European Parkinson’s Disease Association (2011) ‘EPDA Annual report 2010-2011’ Available at: http://www.epda.eu.com/welcome/
  5. Alzheimer Europe (2014) ‘Prevalence of dementia in Europe’ Available at: http://www.alzheimer-europe.org/Research/European-Collaboration-on-Dementia/Prevalence-of-dementia/Prevalence-of-dementia-in-Europe
  6. European Parkinson’s Disease Association (2011) ‘Guide to living with Parkinson’s disease’ Available at: http://www.epda.eu.com/en/parkinsons/epda-partnered-resources/guide-to-living-with-parkinsons/

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