Researchers suggest that by 2020, the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease will have tripled, from about 5 to 15 million people. In the meantime, research into the best ways to prevent and treat the disease will continue.

But while promising new discoveries are made each year (and will likely continue to be made in the coming decades), doctors and scientists worry the pace of Alzheimer’s research is too slow. They also worry the race for a cure may be a distraction from the pressing need to develop more effective treatments — treatments that don’t just stop Alzheimer’s in its tracks, but also work to reverse the damage done.

Part of the reason for both these problems, doctors say, is the dearth of Alzheimer’s patients willing and ready to participate in various types of medical studies.

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