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What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer's disease targets the brain and can affect memory, thinking, judgement, and behavior. Symptoms eventually grow severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. There are more than six million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is projected to rise to nearly 13 million by 2050.

What is the difference between mild and moderate Alzheimer’s disease?

Mild Alzheimer’s Disease

People living with mild Alzheimer’s disease may function independently and perform daily tasks, but the symptoms of memory loss become more evident and noticeable to friends and family. This memory loss is gradual and can be seen as trouble remembering recent important events, forgetting familiar words, or the location of everyday objects.

There may also be a decreased ability to handle tasks such as writing checks, paying bills, shopping, or ordering from a menu. At this stage of Alzheimer’s disease, individuals may be aware of this loss in memory and start to withdraw emotionally as they attempt to deal with these new difficulties.

Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease

People with moderate Alzheimer’s disease generally require a greater level of care and attention. This stage is typically the longest and can last for many years. Trouble with memory is more severe and individuals may confuse words, forget personal history or even family members. They may show an increased impulse to wander and become lost.

At this stage, individuals become less able to function independently. They may require help in choosing proper clothing or preparing meals. It may become unsafe for them to live by themselves, requiring constant supervision by a caregiver or loved one. There is often a change in personality and behavior, including suspiciousness and delusions, and individuals may become increasingly agitated or emotionally withdrawn. It is important to find out what they can still do on their own or find ways to simplify tasks.

Hope Through Research

While Alzheimer’s disease can be devastating to patients, families, and their caregivers, clinical trials such as RethinkALZ and RefocusALZ are looking at new ways to fight this disease.

If you or a loved one are interested in participating in one of these studies, the following criteria must be met:

  • Be ages 50 to 87 years old
  • Be diagnosed with, or have a suspected clinical diagnosis of, Alzheimer’s disease
  • Have a gradual change in memory for six months or more
  • Have a family member or loved one who can be available as a study partner during the entire study
  • Be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or have had a previous COVID-19 infection
  • Be able and willing to participate for 62 or 86 weeks

Other criteria apply.

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