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Will Alzheimer's Be Tomorrow's Top Long Term Care Insurance Claim?

Armen Hareyan's picture

Every 72 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's and an estimated 5.1 million Americans suffer from the disease. Alzheimer's is also the number-one reason for long term care insurance claims according to the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, the industry trade group.

While 13 percent, or one in eight persons age 65 and over have Alzheimer's, new research suggests that a treatment already used to bolster the immune systems of people with leukemia and other serious diseases might also help ward off the disease.

Alzheimer's disease was the leading reason people accessed benefits from their long term care insurance policies. Some 8.25 million Americans currently have this protection in place according to industry reports.

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Medical researchers looked at the association between the use of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) and the occurrence of Alzheimer's. To assess the effectiveness of the treatment, researchers analyzed the medical records of 847 people ages 65 and older who'd had at least one treatment at some point in their life and 84,700 people of the same age who had never received IVIg.

The findings offer a ray of optimism. Those who had received IVIg were 42 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. The study supports the idea that IVIg could be useful for treating Alzheimer's disease. We desperately need disease-modifying treatments for Alzheimer's."

A progressive, neurodegenerative disorder, Alzheimer's disease is marked by a buildup in the brain of plaques made up of beta-amyloid proteins. The plaque is believed to be toxic to the brain, causing cell death over time and a progressive loss of cognitive function. While researchers noted they were not sure of the precise reason, it is possible that older people lack sufficient antibodies to beta-amyloid proteins, causing plaque to accumulate.

Medical professionals noted that the study, reported in Neurology, deserve follow-up confirmation, and the best way to do that is through a properly designed clinical trial.

Written by Jesse Slome from the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance