Study attributes more than 500,000 annual deaths to Alzheimer’s disease

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Neurology – the official journal of the American Academy of Neurology and a leading peer-reviewed publication - published a groundbreaking study from researchers at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago that attributes more than 500,000 deaths in 2010 to Alzheimer’s disease – an amount more than six times the number reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  

The study’s findings place Alzheimer’s deaths nearly on par with cancer deaths. Despite this, Alzheimer’s receives a mere fraction of the research funding dedicated to cancer, which receives $5.7 billion annually compared to Alzheimer’s $550 million in funding.

The study comes just days after the Director of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) reported to the Administration’s Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services that at the current level of funding, the United States would not reach its commitment to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s by 2025.

George Vradenburg, Chairman and Co-Founder of USAgainstAlzheimer’s, released this statement below in response to today’s report release:

“Alzheimer’s disease is a cancer-size problem. Without a new sense of urgency on the part of Congress, we will soon see Alzheimer’s deaths rise to a million or more every year.

“With this much at stake, it is simply unconscionable for Congress not to make a dramatic increase in investment in life-saving Alzheimer’s research.

“We urge Congress to double the current level of funding for Alzheimer’s research. Even with a doubling of funding, Alzheimer’s research would be funded at less than 20% of the level of cancer – even though Alzheimer’s is much more costly to society than cancer and kills a comparable number of Americans.”

Stanley Prusiner, Director of Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of California, San Francisco, and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, released this statement below in response to today’s report release:

“What’s so alarming about this study is that over the last 30 years, the CDC has repeatedly underestimated the number of U.S. citizens dying of Alzheimer’s—for every Alzheimer’s patient that they counted, there were at least five that were not counted. This inaccuracy undoubtedly contributed to the lack of adequate funding for research for Alzheimer’s drug discovery, as well as for the development of informative diagnostics and effective therapeutics. Without drugs that halt the progression of Alzheimer’s, we haven’t yet seen the worst of the dementia epidemic—it will continue to expand.

“Creating effective drugs is an expensive process that needs the expertise of many outstanding scientists. This need screams for dramatic increases in research funding. Congress must act immediately and implement a plan to increase the Alzheimer’s budget 10-fold over the next ten years.

“Until we do so, we can expect to helplessly watch the number of people in the U.S. suffering from Alzheimer’s triple over the next three decades; likewise, the number of Alzheimer’s deaths will continue to grow dramatically. We need to ask ourselves: how long are we willing to let this horrific situation persist?”


USAgainstAlzheimer's is an entrepreneurial and disruptive organization demanding a solution to Alzheimer's by 2020. Driven by the suffering of millions of families, USAgainstAlzheimer's presses for greater urgency from government, industry and the scientific community in the quest for an Alzheimer's cure -- accomplishing this through effective leadership, collaborative advocacy, and strategic investments. For more information, visit