Institution:Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and CEO of Mount Sinai Health System
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Estimates vary, but experts suggest that more than 5 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, but recent estimates indicate that the disorder may rank third, just behind heart disease and cancer, as a cause of death for older people. Cholinesterase inhibitors treat Alzheimers disease by preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical messenger important for learning and memory.