Alzheimer’s patient-advocate George Vradenburg and Nobel Prize winner Stanley Prusiner call for greater attention to be paid to the magnitude of Alzheimer’s disease in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal (3/17, Subscription Publication). Citing the example of President Ronald Reagan, who died from the disease but whose death certificate lists “pneumonia” as the cause of death, the authors argue that the true death toll of the disease is six times higher than officially reported.
The CDC uses official causes of death in calculating that Alzheimer’s kills 84,000 people per year. However, a recent study in the journal Neurology estimates the real number could be greater than half-a-million, which would rival the number of deaths from cancer. However, while Congress provides $5.7 billion annually to cancer research, Alzheimer’s only receives $550 million. The authors call for both greater funding and greater attention to the widespread killer.
— “Alzheimer’s and Its Uncounted Victims,” George Vradenburg, Wall Street Journal, March , 2014.