New data show Alzheimer’s prevalence in Capital Region

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The first ever county-level Alzheimer’s prevalence data was released.

The staggering numbers recently released from the Alzheimer’s Association is showing county-wide prevalence data for every county in the nation.

“Out of the 17 counties that we serve in our chapter, 16 of them have prevalence rates over 10 percent,” Beth Smith-Boivin explained. “That means that 10 percent of the population over the age of 65 in 16 of these counties have Alzheimer’s disease.”

In Albany and Schenectady counties, there’s 11.6% prevalence in both areas, which is the highest in the Capital Region.

“And that’s probably due to the fact those counties have older populations,” Smith Boivin said. “They also have populations of folks that are in the Black and Brown and Latino community, and as you know because we’ve talked about this before, those communities are much more susceptible to developing Alzheimer’s disease.”

Beth-Smith Boivin said this information could also help public officials. The numbers can be used to show them where to allocate resources to help the millions of New Yorkers impacted by the disease.

While numbers are already high in the Capital Region, a new test to detect the disease could cause a spike in those numbers.  

New research from a simple, finger-prick blood test is awaiting FDA approval.

“Data came out in Sweden showing an 80% efficacy rate to this new finger prick blood test could be turned around in 2 days and somebody could have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease,” Smith-Boivin explained. Right now, in some communities, people are waiting 6 months for that information.

Smith-Boivin added, in the United States, the average time from people having Alzheimer’s disease to getting diagnosed is two years.

“It means that if you are not diagnosed with this disease in a timely way, you may miss your window of opportunity to access these new treatments, so we can’t wait,” Smith-Boivin said.