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Announcements: National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month — November 2011

November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month. Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common cause of dementia, is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. An estimated 2.4--5.2 million persons in the United States currently have AD (1,2). Although AD is not a normal part of aging, the risk for developing it increases with age; approximately half of persons aged ≥85 years are estimated to have AD (3). In the United States, AD is the sixth leading cause of death for all adults and the fifth leading cause of death for adults aged ≥65 years (4).

AD is an important issue for the public health system and is included as a new topic area (dementias, including Alzheimer's disease) in Healthy People 2020 (5). The Healthy Brain Initiative: A National Public Health Road Map to Maintaining Cognitive Health provides a framework for a coordinated public health response across agencies and organizations to address cognitive health, including AD (6). CDC's Health Brain Initiative works to achieve the desired objectives described in the road map that fall under the purview of CDC's mission and vision. Included are efforts to provide state-level surveillance regarding the impact of perceived cognitive impairment through population-based systems. In 2009, five states (California, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, and Michigan) piloted a new cognitive impairment module in their Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey, and 22 states included the module in 2011. Additional information about CDC's Healthy Brain Initiative, including reports highlighting the 2009 BRFSS cognitive impairment pilot data, is available at


  1. National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging. Alzheimer's information. Bethesda, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging; 2011. Available at Accessed November 7, 2011.
  2. Alzheimer's Association, Thies W, Bleiler L. 2011 Alzheimer's disease facts and figures. Alzheimers Dement 2011;7:208--44.
  3. Hebert LE, Scherr PA, Bienias JL, Bennett DA, Evans DA. Alzheimer disease in the US population: prevalence estimates using the 2000 census. Arch Neurol. 2003;60:1119--22.
  4. Xu JQ, Kochanek KD, Murphy SL, Tejada-Vera B. Deaths: final data for 2007. Natl Vital Stat Rep 2010;58(19).
  5. CDC. Dementias, including Alzheimer's disease. Healthy People 2020. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2011. Available at Accessed November 7, 2011.
  6. CDC, Alzheimer's Association. The Healthy Brain Initiative: a national public health road map to maintaining cognitive health. Chicago, IL: Alzheimer's Association; 2007. Available at Accessed November 7, 2011.

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