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ABC 7: LA County Among State’s Highest for Rates of Older Adults Living With Alzheimer’s

ABC 7 recently interviewed Zaldy Tan, MD, MPH, medical director of the Jona Goldrich Center for Alzheimer’s and Memory Disorders in Cedars-Sinai’s Department of Neurology, about new research that revealed California has a high rate of older adults with Alzheimer’s disease.  

About 5.8 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number is expected to triple to nearly 14 million by 2060. Tan told ABC 7’s Denise Dador that nationally, Los Angeles County has a high percentage of residents with Alzheimer’s disease (13.2% of residents). 

California has the seventh highest rate of older adults with Alzheimer’s in the country, which could be related to environmental factors that can increase an individual’s risk of developing the disease.

“Pollution has been related to the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and we know that sometimes our air quality is not the best,” said Tan, who holds the Carmen and Louis Warschaw Chair in Neurology at Cedars-Sinai. He added that car-bound Angelenos don’t walk as much as residents of other cities.

Tan, who attended the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Amsterdam in July, told Dador that research presented at the conference on donanemab, an experimental immunotherapy drug, showed promise in slowing the progression of the disease. A study presented at the international conference showed donanemab reduced the progression of Alzheimer’s by 35%. Studies of lecanemab, the Alzheimer’s medication recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, showed it reduced disease progression by 27%.

While there may be more new treatments in the future, Tan said it’s important to prioritize Alzheimer’s prevention. “It’s really about a healthy lifestyle and getting good sleep, lowering stress, preventing head trauma and eating a healthy diet,” Tan told Dador.  

Click here to watch the complete segment from ABC 7.