Neurodegenerative Disease Often Misdiagnosed, Undiagnosed

The accelerating incidence of neurodegenerative disease around the world is undeniable. Excluding the coronavirus pandemic, neurodegenerative disease is the fastest-growing cause of death on the planet. Contrary to popular belief, neurodegenerative disease is not a normal part of aging. In fact, neurodegenerative disease is now killing teenagers.

The global number of people living with dementia more than doubled from 1990 to 2016. Today, every three seconds, someone in the world develops dementia. Unfortunately, millions of these people and their families will never know what hit them.

Alzheimer’s disease alone is taking the lives of 50-150 million people around the world now. Millions will die of the disease this year, while millions more will be diagnosed and misdiagnosed. Millions of additional people will go undiagnosed.

It is estimated that nearly 500,000 new cases of Alzheimer’s disease will be diagnosed in the United States this year.

Between 2000 and 2018, the number of deaths from Alzheimer’s disease recorded on death certificates increased 146 percent, while the number of deaths from heart disease decreased 7.8 percent. A similar pattern is emerging around the globe. Determining the true extent of the prion pandemic is easier said than done. Poor records, suppressed diagnoses and misinformation compound the problem.

A groundbreaking study suggested that Alzheimer’s disease actually causes six times more deaths than official statistics indicate. 

In reality, the study said that Alzheimer’s disease was the underlying cause in more than 500,000 deaths in 2010. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s deaths are often attributed to conditions, such as pneumonia. With more accurate data, it appears that Alzheimer’s disease could be the third-leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer. Researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago led the study and published their results in 2013 in the medical journal Neurology.

Governments and industry are working diligently to keep prion disease off the public radar. The epidemic will persist. It will escalate even faster unless we respect the science.

As the following chart demonstrates, Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t impact all populations equally. Some regions of the world and the nation appear to be hotspots for neurodegenerative disease. Please spend more time familiarizing yourself with the research posted on this website to understand why.

According to the following data, South Dakota, Mississippi, Alabama, North Dakota, Vermont and Arkansas have the highest mortality rates from Alzheimer’s disease in the United States. The incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, however, is a more elusive statistic.

                                                Deaths            (per 100,000)                                    Mortality Rate

Alabama2,65954.2
Alaska12817.5
Arizona3,04742
Arkansas1,50749.9
California16,85942.7
Colorado1,90933.1
Connecticut96727.1
Delaware33934.8
District of Columbia8111.5
Florida6,53930.4
Georgia4,22139.8
Hawaii47133.3
Idaho65036.4
Illinois3,95431.2
Indiana2,56138.0
Iowa1,43942.6
Kansas83928.8
Kentucky1,68437.7
Louisiana2,16546.6
Maine54440.5
Maryland1,01216.7
Massachusetts1,66324.1
Michigan4,46744.7
Minnesota2,55245.3
Mississippi1,66255.8
Missouri2,78245.3
Montana32630.5
Nebraska76839.7
Nevada67823.2
New Hampshire51137.6
New Jersey2,62929.6
New Mexico56827.1
New York3,75319.3
North Carolina4,50843.0
North Dakota40352.9
Ohio5,23444.8
Oklahoma1,77544.9
Oregon1,99247.2
Pennsylvania4,15032.4
Rhode Island45643.0
South Carolina2,32345.1
South Dakota49556.0
Tennessee3,25247.6
Texas10,10134.8
Utah98030.6
Vermont31550.5
Virginia2,63130.8
Washington3,58547.1
West Virginia83246.4
Wisconsin2,39041.0
Wyoming23841.1
U.S. TOTAL121,49937.0
Data from the National Center for Health Statistics, 2019.

This information was obtained from death certificates and reflects the condition identified by the physician as the underlying cause of death. The COVID pandemic likely skewed these statistics downward in 2020, but the upward trend is firmly in place in most parts of the world. For example, in 2010, the mortality rate for Alzheimer’s disease/dementia was 27.0. In 2019, that number was up to 37.0. (a 37 percent increase).

Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s disease is rarely indicated on death certificates. In addition, many people go undiagnosed, so the true mortality rate and prevalence of the disease are unknown.

In 2018, some form of dementia was the officially recorded underlying cause of death for 266,957 individuals (this includes the 122,019 from Alzheimer’s disease). Therefore, the number of deaths from all causes of dementia, even as listed on death certificates, is more than twice as high as the number of reported Alzheimer’s deaths alone.

A variety of factors can trigger neurodegenerative disease, including genetics, head trauma and prions. A prion is a deadly form of protein that infects the entire body, while consuming the brain. Prion contamination, however, explains much of the variations in the mortality rates above.

  • An estimated 6.2 million Americans age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2021. Seventy-two percent are age 75 or older.
  • One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. It kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.
  • One in nine people age 65 and older (11.3%) has Alzheimer’s dementia.
  • Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women.
  • Older Black Americans are twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias as older Caucasians.
  • Older Hispanics are about one and one-half times as likely to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias as older Caucasians.
  • Approximately two-thirds of caregivers are women; more specifically, over one-third of dementia caregivers are daughters.
  • Most caregivers (66 percent) live with the person with dementia in the community.
  • The long duration of illness before death contributes significantly to the public health impact of Alzheimer’s disease because much of that time is spent in a state of disability and dependence.
Alzheimer's disease treatment

There are proven strategies to help avert neurodegenerative disease, including smart nutrition, exercise and prion aversion. There is not a cure for prion disease, but smart nutrition can ease the symptoms. Smart nutrition also can help you and your family avert neurodegenerative disease. Preview and order the eBook now to defend yourself and your family.

Gary Chandler is a prion expert. He is the CEO of Crossbow Communications, author of several books and producer of documentaries about health and environmental issues around the world. Chandler is connecting the dots to the global surge in neurodegenerative disease, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, chronic wasting disease, and other forms of prion disease. The scientific name for prion disease is transmissible spongiform encephalopathy.