Nancy's Legacy

Alzheimer’s disease was first identified more than 100 years ago by Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German neuropsychiatrist, in his patient, Auguste Deter, a woman in her 50’s who developed memory, language, visual-spatial, and orientation problems as well as delusional thinking.  Upon Auguste’s death, Dr. Alzheimer autopsied her brain, finding atrophy and the two hallmark neuropathological signs of AD, amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles.

AD was originally thought to be rare presenile dementia. Until the 1970’s, most cases of senile dementia were attributed to arteriosclerosis.  Today, AD is recognized as the primary cause of cognitive impairment in older adults.

An estimated 5.5 million Americans of all ages are living with AD.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s:

  • 1 in 10 people age 65 and older has AD
  • 1 in 3 seniors dies with AD or another dementia
  • AD is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States
  • 2 in 3 Americans with AD are women
  • More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with AD
  • In 2017, AD cost the nation $259 billion, and annual costs are expected to exceed $1 trillion by 2050

The above information is from the University of California, Irvine Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND) website:

Alzheimer’s is not just memory loss – Alzheimer’s kills.

Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and the 6th leading cause of death for those aged 65 and older.

Alzheimer’s is the only cause of death among the top 10 in America without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression.

Deaths from Alzheimer’s increased 66 percent between 2000 and 2008, while deaths from other major diseases, including the number one cause of death (heart disease), decreased.