Alzheimer's Deaths Under-reported?

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Story Updated: Mar 7, 2014

Alzheimer's deaths are drastically under-counted, experts warn.

An analysis of 2 aging studies published in the journal Neurology tallied fatalities among nearly 2600 seniors 65 and older from the mid-1990s up until 2013. All were initially dementia-free although annual clinical testing revealed that almost 22% ultimately developed Alzheimer's a diagnosis that appeared to triple or even quadruple the rate of death. Upon death, approximately 90% were autopsied and because all were organ donors, the cause of mortality was clearly noted in each case. Number crunching on a national scale revealed that among all Americans 75 and up, Alzheimer's likely accounted for more than 500,000 deaths in 2010 5 to 6 times higher than figures previously reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In fact, while the CDC currently ranks Alzheimer's #6 among the leading causes of death in the U.S- investigators now say the illness more accurately sits atop the list alongside killers #1 and 2: heart disease and cancer.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with news you can use for healthier living.

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