This is SCIENCE IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English. I'm Bob Doughty. And I'm Barbara Klein.

Today e tell about Alzheimer's disease. !ore than a century a"ter its disco#ery$ Al%heimer's disease is still destroying people's brains. The cause remains un&no n. September t enty'"irst is (orld Al%heimer's Day. The theme "or the obser#ance this year is )Diagnosing Dementia* See It Sooner.) The goal is early identi"ication o" the disease so those a""ected get the treatment they need. Around the orld$ there ill be al&s to raise money "or medical research. Training courses and educational meetings also are planned. In the +nited States$ "or e,ample$ more than t enty thousand teams are preparing "or hat organi%ers call memory al&s. Singapore ill hold public e#ents in at least three languages* English$ !alay and !andarin. And$ Barbados ill mar& (orld Al%heimer's Day ith e#ents li&e a religious ser#ice$ a health "air and per"ormances by musicians. An estimated thirty million people around the orld ha#e Al%heimer's disease. In the +nited States alone$ more than "i#e million people are said to su""er "rom this slo ly increasing brain disorder. Al%heimer's a""ects memory and personality '' those -ualities that ma&e a person an indi#idual. There is no &no n cure. Victims slo ly lose their abilities to deal ith e#eryday li"e. At "irst$ they "orget simple things$ li&e here they put something or a person's name. As time passes$ they "orget more and more. They "orget the names o" their husbands$ i#es or children. Then they "orget ho they are. .inally$ they remember almost nothing. It is as i" their brain dies be"ore the other parts o" the body. Victims o" Al%heimer's do die "rom its e""ects or conditions lin&ed to it. But death may not come "or many years. Al%heimer's disease is the most common disability or mental sic&ness called dementia. Dementia is the loss o" thin&ing ability that is se#ere enough to inter"ere ith daily acti#ities. It is not a disease itsel". Instead$ dementia is a group o" signs o" some conditions and diseases. Some &inds o" dementia can be cured or corrected. This is especially true i" they result "rom drugs$ in"ection$ sight or hearing problems$ head in/ury$ and heart or lung problems. Other &inds o" dementia can be corrected by changing le#els o" hormones or #itamins in the body. 0o e#er$ brain cells o" Al%heimer's #ictims die and are not replaced. Victims can become angry and #iolent as the ability to thin& and remember decreases. They sometimes shout and mo#e ith no purpose or goal. !edia reports tell about older adults "ound al&ing in places "ar "rom their homes. They do not &no here they are or here they came "rom. These people o"ten are su""ering "rom Al%heimer's disease. Al%heimer's generally de#elops di""erently in each person. 1et some early signs o" the disease are common. The #ictims may not recogni%e changes in themsel#es. Others see the changes and struggle to hide them.

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