Activists say the memory-robbing disease that former President Reagan brought to the spotlight in 1994 poses a significant threat to Iowa’s future. Karen Wohlleben of the Eastern Iowa Alzheimer’s Association says the disease is continuing to spread.Predictions are that the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s will grow by 350-percent by mid-century. In the next 25 years, Alzheimer’s cases in Iowa will go from 65-thousand to 80-thousand. Wohlleben, who lives in Cedar Rapids, is in Washington D-C today for a national Alzheimer’s rally. She says the key is more money for research.Wohlleben says about one in ten people over age 65 now have Alzheimer’s disease. That number bounds to about half by age 85. She says research has found there are detectable changes in the brain up to ten years before any outward signs of the disease appear — and we’re closing in on a cure.She says the more people that are identified early on and treated, the better chance they have of making a difference with treatment.There are four Alzheimer’s chapters in Iowa — in Davenport, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Sioux City.
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