Degenerative neural diseases
Masliah, Eliezer Departments of Neuroscience and Pathology, University of California San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla, California.
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The number of people with neurodegenerative disorders associated with aging, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, is increasing rapidly as life expectancy in developed countries continues to rise. Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people afflicted will reach 14 million for Alzheimer's disease and 4 million for Parkinson's disease by 2050, threatening to make these conditions an unmanageable burden not only for the patients but also for society. Neurodegenerative disorders comprise a wide range of neurological diseases characterized by loss of synaptic connections among neurons, neuronal dropout, astrogliosis (proliferation of astrocytes within the brain), and abnormal accumulation of neuronal proteins inside neurons or in the extracellular space. Alzheimer's disease is among the most common neurodegenerative disorders and the leading cause of dementia in the elderly. Other common neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Huntington's disease, are characterized by motor function abnormalities. See also: Dementia
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