In 2021, more than 6 million people were living with Alzheimer’s in the US. This number is projected to more than double to over 13 million by 2050. Despite the exceedingly high number of Alzheimer’s patients, the cost of diagnosis and treatment is also very high, making it one of the costliest ailments in the world. As a result, proper diagnosis and treatment are way out of the reach of thousands of Americans, with this number also projected to rise.
There have been millions of dollars poured into research for cheaper and more effective methods to diagnose the diseases. Cognes is one of the companies pioneering effective innovations in this field. Using advanced computing and medical technology to democratize diagnosis at an affordable rate that most people can afford.
The number of people living with Alzheimer’s is on an upward trend. This growth has been happening rapidly, with an estimated 6.2 million people aged 65 years or older living with the disease in 2021. Out of those 6.2 million, seventy-two percent are aged 75 years or older. 11.3% or 1 in 9 people aged 65 and older, have Alzheimer’s, making it one of the most prevalent ailments in America, particularly among seniors.
Although this neurodegenerative disease is not prevalent across all demographics, it does affect everyone due to its social and economic tolls. Over 60% of all people with Alzheimer’s are women. It is also twice as likely to affect older black Americans as older white Americans. Among the older Hispanic population, the prevalence is one-and-a-half times higher when compared to their older white counterparts.
These statistics are, in part, why Cognes was created. Through advanced technology, easy access to screening can aid in reducing these numbers. Even though a reliable treatment is yet to enter the market, necessary steps can be taken to slow down the progress of cognitive decline and offer a better quality of life.
The most well-known symptom of Alzheimer’s is memory impairment. Although memory loss is typically the telltale sign of Alzheimer’s progression, the disease is a lot more sinister for the affected. A third of all seniors die from Alzheimer’s, killing more people than prostate and breast cancer combined. This makes it one of the most significant causes of mortality in America.
Deaths from major causes have seen a drastic decrease over the past few years due to developments in medical technology and greater access. This is best reflected in heart disease, the largest killer in America, which has seen a decrease of 7.3% from 2000–2019. However, the number of death certificates with Alzheimer’s as the cause of death has more than doubled, increasing by 145.2%.
After a diagnosis, 61% of people over the age of 70 are expected to die before the age of 80. In comparison, only 30% of people without Alzheimer’s are aged 70 and are expected to die before the age of 80. People with Alzheimer’s are twice as likely to die before the age of 80 when compared to those without Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s progression is typically slow and uncertain, which is a great source of pain for the patient and their community. After a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, people aged 65 years or older typically live for an average of between four and eight years; however, some individuals end up living for another 20 years.
The Cost of Alzheimer’s
In America, Alzheimer’s is one of the costliest diseases. Most of these costs are borne by the individual, their family, and their friends. It can be prohibitively expensive to get a diagnosis and treatment for many people.
As a result, between 50 and 80% of people with dementia go undiagnosed and, consequently, untreated. Cognes offers a solution to this problem by implementing machine learning technology using a smartphone to easily screen and help people catch the disease as early as possible.
The cost to the taxpayer is just as high, with governments across the world spending more money every year to contain the disease. The amount of money spent by governments on Alzheimer’s is also expected to triple by 2050 if a solution is not found.
Patients with Alzheimer’s utilize medical facilities a lot more often when compared to their healthy counterparts. This translated to greater out-of-pocket spending for them and put extra strain on the facilities. ADix allows for remote screening on your phone and eliminates the need to visit a medical facility for a diagnosis entirely.
Discrimination in Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Accessibility
While the call for equality in healthcare regardless of race, creed, gender, or socioeconomic status has been going on for decades, we are still far from achieving it. While Black Americans and Hispanics are more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s, they are also far less likely to get a diagnosis.
Many people of color want healthcare workers who understand their unique backgrounds and experiences, while most feel that they do not receive culturally competent health workers. People of color are also a lot less likely to visit a physician when experiencing problems with their memory. This also results in less inclusion for people of color in clinical trials, and consequently, research projects are not fulfilling the needs for ethnic diversity when exploring treatment options.
Since the cost of diagnosis and care for people living with Alzheimer’s is so high, people of lower socioeconomic standing may find it prohibitively expensive to get a diagnosis and, consequently, treatment.
How does Cognes work?
Cognes, through an app on your smartphone, uses machine learning analysis of images of faces and cognitive tests to screen for digital biomarkers associated with Alzheimer’s progression. It determines this through nuances at each stage of dementia, allowing it to catch it as early as possible.
Users will be able to be screened from anywhere in the world. They will get the results quickly on their smartphones. This technology will democratize Alzheimer’s diagnosis across all creeds, races, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds, while also serving the 50–80% of individuals at risk worldwide who remain undiagnosed.