INTEREST IN Alzheimer disease (AD) has increased dramatically during the past 2 decades. Previously, AD was considered by many to be a presenile dementia, whereas senility was often ascribed to aging per se. We now know that AD is the most common cause of dementia in the elderly, with typical onset occurring between the ages of 75 and 85 years. The news created by the public announcement that Ronald Reagan, a popular former president, had been diagnosed as having AD signaled the intense public interest in the disease.
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