An estimated 24 million people worldwide have dementia, the majority of whom are thought to have Alzheimer's disease. Thus, Alzheimer's disease represents a major public health concern and has been identified as a research priority. Although there are licensed treatments that can alleviate symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, there is a pressing need to improve our understanding of pathogenesis to enable development of disease-modifying treatments. Methods for improving diagnosis are also moving forward, but a better consensus is needed for development of a panel of biological and neuroimaging biomarkers that support clinical diagnosis. There is now strong evidence of potential risk and protective factors for Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and cognitive decline, but further work is needed to understand these better and to establish whether interventions can substantially lower these risks. In this Seminar, we provide an overview of recent evidence regarding the epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of Alzheimer's disease, and discuss potential ways to reduce the risk of developing the disease.
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