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The cost of caring for dementia patients has now surpassed that of heart disease ($102 billion) and cancer ($77 billion). The $109 billion annual cost is expected to double by the time the youngest Baby Boomers reach their 70s.

A study conducted by researchers from Rand Corp. and the University of Michigan, estimates 15 percent of people in the U.S. older than age 70 have dementia. If you’ve noticed a recent change in your memory or that of a loved one, contact your doctor. To accurately diagnosis clinical memory loss, a neuropsychological evaluation is recommended.

While there are no “cures” for memory loss, doctors can help manage the symptoms and sometimes even slow the progression. Drugs for the manifestations of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia, are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (Tacrine, Rivastigmine, Galantamine and Donepezil), and an NMDA receptor antagonist (memantine). Psychosocial interventions can help with behavior and emotional reactions.

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