Alzheimer's Disease: Unraveling the Mystery


Over the past few decades, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has emerged from obscurity. Once considered a rare disorder, it is now seen as a major public health problem that has a severe impact on millions of older Americans and their families. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) is the lead agency for AD research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIA launched its AD program in 1978, and since then, the study of this disease has become one of NIA’s top priorities. Several other NIH institutes also conduct and sponsor studies on AD.

Thanks to the work of NIH institutes, other research organizations around the world, and many private-sector research, education, and advocacy groups, the study of AD is moving ahead rapidly. This book explains what AD is, describes the main areas in which researchers are working, and highlights new approaches for helping families and friends care for people with AD.


Learn the Basics of the Healthy Brain

Discover What Happens to the Brain in AD

Explore Cutting-Edge AD Research

Learn about Caregiver Support


Visit NIA's Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center website at There, you will find resources to accompany this book, such as downloadable versions of the illustrations and an animation that shows what happens to the changing brain in AD. And while you are there, explore the ADEAR Center’s many other offerings. These include free publications about AD and AD caregiving, clinical trials information, and a list of NIA-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Centers.

Publication Date: September 2011
Page Last Updated: January 22, 2015

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