Although Alzheimer's disease was described at the turn of the century, it has gained notoriety only in the past several decades. Interest in the disease has been catapulted forward by the dramatic increase in the number of elderly persons, the most rapidly expanding segment of the population. As the proportion of the aged population grows, so too will the medical and social consequences of the disease. Thus far, the most substantial leads in the search for a cause of Alzheimer's disease have been in the areas of genetic, biochemical, and epidemiologic research. While certain environmental factors such as aluminum have provoked interest, their role remains controversial.
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