The journal Nature has created an animation of Alzheimer's disease at the molecular level. The Alzheimer's Association characterizes the disease as the most common type of dementia, an intellectual disability and memory loss that disrupts a person's ability to function normally.
While advancing age is the biggest risk factor, it is not a typical part of aging. It can also affect people that are still young, with around five percent of those affected by the disease still in their forties and fifties.
There is no cure for the disorder, and researchers are still trying to develop effective treatments for the disease. Current therapeutics can provide some relieve from the symptoms, but do not halt the progression of Alzheimer's, which can eventually be fatal. People live an average of eight years after a diagnosis, and the disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.