Eighty percent of people around the world believe Alzheimer’s disease is a normal part of aging, revealing that many don’t understand how the disease works, Time reports, citing a recent study.
“The disease is an abnormal state of the brain in which plaques of proteins build up and break down nerve connections,” Time says, adding that 1 billion people world wide will be affected by the disease by 2050.
In a survey of more than 6000 people from 12 countries, the Alzheimer’s Association says nearly a quarter of responders list Alzheimer’s disease as the condition they most fear getting, behind cancer, Times says, adding that the study also found that nearly 40% of people believed that only those with a family history of the disease could be affected.
And while the disease is often associated with symptoms of memory loss and cognitive decline, it can eventually affect physical functions as well and be fatal in those affected. “Alzheimer’s disease knows no bounds,” Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association said in a written statement, Time says. “Anyone with a brain is at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, so everyone with a brain should join the fight against it.”
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Written by Cassandra Dowell