Monday, December 08, 2008

New Hope On Horizon To Fight Disease Affecting The Elderly

(NAPSI)-Americans are living longer than ever and as a result have more time to spend with family, to travel and to enjoy life.

People born in 2005 will live nearly 78 years on average, the National Center for Health Statistics predicts. By comparison, in 1955, the average American was expected to live for only 69.6 years.

Not only are seniors living longer, but America's pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies are now working on over 2,000 new medicines to help them face the health challenges that arise from aging.

According to a new report released by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), medicines, which offer great promise to treat and prevent diseases such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, are currently being tested in clinical trials or are awaiting final approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Topping the health challenges seniors confront today are heart disease, cancer and cerebrovascular disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hypertension alone affects 67 percent of those 65 or older. Chronic lower respiratory disease, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and flu and pneumonia round out the list of severe chronic diseases that are the leading causes of death in older Americans.

Among the new medicines now in development are 150 for diabetes, which affects 12.2 million Americans age 60 and older; 62 for eye disorders that contribute significantly to late-life disability; and 91 for Alzheimer's disease, which could afflict 16 million people by 2050 without further advances in treatment or prevention. Other medicines target depression, osteoporosis, Parkinson's disease, prostate disease, bladder and kidney diseases, and other debilitating conditions.

Among the many experimental therapies is a medicine that could potentially prevent or reverse the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

For more information, visit the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Web site at www.phrma.org. For additional information on diseases and other health issues affecting the elderly, visit the National Institute on Aging at www.nia.nih.gov.

Over 2,000 new medicines are currently being tested to help seniors face the health challenges that arise from aging.

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