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November 1999

The Preeminent Role of Neuropeptide Systems in the Early Pathophysiology of Alzheimer Disease: Up With Corticotropin-Releasing Factor, Down With Acetylcholine

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1999;56(11):991-992. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.56.11.991

THE PAST decade has witnessed remarkable advances in molecular neurobiology, and they have been increasingly applied to the study of the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disease. Perhaps no disease has been scrutinized more intensely than Alzheimer disease (AD) in this regard, and 2 recent comprehensive reviews have highlighted these advances.1,2 The sheer number of individuals with AD renders it a public health problem of major magnitude; more than 4 million persons in the United States are believed to be afflicted with this neurodegenerative disorder, most in their 70s, 80s, and 90s. The cost to society is extraordinary, with estimates as high as $60 billion annually.