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Study finds women bear heavier economic burden for Alzheimer's care

By Robin Reese | Woodruff Health Sciences Center | Sept. 10, 2015

Emory News Center 9/10/2015 - An Emory study published today in the journal Women's Health Issues finds women bear six times the cost of Alzheimer's disease (AD) care, per capita, that men do. The authors say the greater cost burden is largely due to the informal care women deliver to family members with AD. 

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and is ultimately fatal. It is also one of the most expensive diseases in our country—more costly than heart disease or cancer. 

Authors Zhou Yang, PhD, assistant professor in Emory's Rollins School of Public Health, and Allan Levey, MD, chair of the Department of Neurology and director of the Emory Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, used a lifetime perspective to calculate AD costs and looked at three factors: the probability of developing the disease, the disease's duration, and the formal and informal care needed for the AD patient.