ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
CANCER
Vitamin D May Improve Melanoma Survival
Immune Therapy May Aid Kids With Neuroblastoma
Red Meat No No No But Oily Fish Yes Yes Yes
CAREGIVING
Hospital Practices Influence Which Moms Will Breast-Feed
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
Medication Errors Could Be Cut: Experts
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
DIABETES
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
DIET, NUTRITION
Myrrh May Lower High Cholesterol
Is Coffee Good or Bad for Your Health?
The Best Diet? That Depends on You
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Bed Bugs Bring No Disease Danger
City Kids Find the Breathin' Is Easier Elsewhere
As Earth Warms, Lyme Disease Could Flourish
EYE CARE, VISION
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
FITNESS
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!
Super Bowl Loss Can 'Kill' Some Fans
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Biomarkers May Help Measure Rate of Decline in Dementia
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
Fussy Babys Could Be Out Of Your Control
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
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With Alzheimer's, Health-Care Costs Could Triple

TUESDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- In a new report, the Alzheimer's Association estimates that Alzheimer's disease and dementia triple the health-care costs for afflicted seniors.

In addition, people who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities pay an average of $16,689 in out-of-pocket costs each year, researchers found. The association also estimates that nearly 10 million unpaid caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease spent 8.5 billion hours in 2008 watching over their loved ones, care valued at an estimated $94 billion.

"These health-care costs are crippling, not just to society at large but to families and individuals," said Angela Geiger, chief strategy officer with the Alzheimer's Association, which released the report Tuesday.

About 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, according to the association's Facts and Figures report for 2009. The number includes about 14 percent of people aged 71 and older.

The report finds that:

* The average annual health-care cost for someone older than 65 with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia was $33,007 in 2004 -- three times more than the $10,603 for people that age without the conditions.
* Deaths from Alzheimer's disease rose by 47 percent from 2000 to 2006 while the number of deaths from several other major diseases -- including heart attack, stroke, breast cancer and prostate cancer -- fell during that period.
* States in the Rocky Mountains and Northwest will see the number of people with Alzheimer's disease increase by at least 81 percent between 2000 and 2025.
* By 2025, California and Florida will each be home to more than a half-million people with Alzheimer's disease.

"The bottom line is that we are an aging society, and if we don't find a cure to delay or halt the disease, we are soon going to become an Alzheimer's nation," said Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, a psychiatry professor at Duke University Medical Center and co-author of the book The Alzheimer's Action Plan.

Dr. Gary Small, director of the Memory & Aging Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, added that detecting symptoms early can save money in the long run.

"If you treat people early and keep them at a higher level of functioning, the costs tend to be lower," Small said. "The costs tend to increase as people get more dysfunctional and require more medical care and caregiver time."

In the big picture, the country needs to invest more in Alzheimer's research to keep costs low in the future, Small said. "More research on that could eventually get us to the stage where you take a vaccine or drug to reduce the risk of getting it," he said.

Geiger said that the federal government needs to more than double its annual budget for Alzheimer's research, to $1 billion. "That's the level and the investment that it's going to take," she said.

-Randy Dotinga

More information

The Alzheimer's Association has more about Alzheimer's disease.



SOURCES: Angela Geiger, chief strategy officer, Alzheimer's Association, Chicago; Gary Small, M.D., director, Memory & Aging Center, University of California, Los Angeles; P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D., professor, psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.; Alzheimer's Association, 2009 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures

Last Updated: March 24, 2009

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