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Invited Commentary
February 28, 2011

Preclinical Alzheimer Disease: Prevention Holy Grail or Pandora's Box?Comment on “Heavy Smoking in Midlife and Long-term Risk of Alzheimer Disease and Vascular Dementia”

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco, and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco.

Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(4):339-340. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2010.547

By 2050, the number of people with AD and other forms of dementia in the United States and other countries is expected to triple.1 Given this anticipated dramatic increase in the incidence and prevalence of dementia, the identification of successful prevention and treatment strategies is critical. However, current pharmaceutical treatment of dementia can only modestly improve symptoms, has little benefit regarding the underlying pathophysiologic symptoms of the disease, and has no clear role in primary or secondary prevention, to our knowledge. As a result, current prevention strategies will rely on risk factor identification and modification until disease-modifying agents prove efficacious.

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