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31 Unforgettable Alzheimer's Disease Statistics & Facts

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Alzheimer’s disease statistics

31 Unforgettable Alzheimer’s Disease Statistics

For more than a century, scientists have been struggling to understand the exact causes of this fatal neurodegenerative disease. Fortunately, they have made some progress in this direction. These Alzheimer’s disease statistics attest to the numerous studies and observations dedicated to this prevalent and dreadful impairment. 

Around 50 million people worldwide will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease by 2025, especially those older than 65, since advanced age is the biggest known risk factor.

With its effects of gradual dehumanization and a slow, progressive neurological demise, Alzheimer’s disease horrifies many, especially those in the developed countries, where both awareness and prevalence concerning Alzheimer’s disease are high.

However, being informed can help you identify the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and, consequently, reach an early self-diagnosis or diagnose a loved one, which, in turn, can significantly improve the life quality of life of the affected. 

The Top 10 Alzheimer’s Disease Statistics

  • Alzheimer’s dementia is the 6th leading cause of death in the US.
  • There was a 213% rise in dementia-related deaths during the period 2000–2017.
  • 1 in 3 patients aged 59–75 dies within 5 years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Racial disparities in Alzheimer’s prevalence amongst blacks and whites are slowly disappearing.
  • 32% of the people older than 65 with mild cognitive impairment will develop Alzheimer’s in the next 5 years.
  • Animal studies show a possible connection between gut bacteria and beta-amyloid plaque formation in the brain.
  • Brain changes can be present for 22 years before the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms.
  • 50% of the people with Down syndrome have Alzheimer’s dementia in their 60s.
  • 55% of Americans that are aware of their cognitive decline don’t consult with a physician. 
  • There are 102 clinical trials aimed at modifying Alzheimer’s disease.

Prevalence and Mortality of Alzheimer’s Disease


1. Around 7.1 million Americans over 65 will develop Alzheimer’s dementia by 2025. 

(Alzheimer’s Association)

The statistics concerning the incidence of Alzheimer’s saw an increase of 27% between 2019–2020. Around 7.1 individuals over 65 will develop Alzheimer’s by 2025, and the total number will reach 13.8 million by 2050. 

The retirement of the baby-boom generation will increase the percentage of the old population to 20% by 2030, counting some 74 million people over 65. Around 3 million of those affected by Alzheimer’s disease will be older than 85 by 2031. 

2. Alzheimer’s disease statistics in the US for 2019 reveal that the state of California has the highest number of patients. 

(Alzheimer’s Association, Statista)

Currently, Alzheimer’s affects 5.7 million of the US population older than 65, or 5.8 million when counting all age groups. Estimations show that every 65 seconds, an American develops the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. 

In 2019, the most significant number of patients was recorded in California, where 670,000 of the population older than 65 were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Next in line were Florida (560,000), New York (400,000), and Texas (390,000). Alaska, the District of Columbia, and Wyoming have the smallest numbers of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

3. Dementia statistics in the United States for 2018 rate Alzheimer’s dementia as the 6th leading cause of death.

(Statista)

The age-adjusted data for the top 10 leading causes of death among Americans shows that Alzheimer’s disease is in the sixth place, after heart disease, cancer, COPD, accidents, and strokes, but preceding diabetes, respiratory infections, suicide, and nephritis.

In 2018, Alzheimer’s disease was responsible for 30.5 deaths per 100,000 of the US population. Alzheimer’s dementia was also named third on the list of the 10 leading causes of death among the upper-income countries for 2016.

4. Finland has the highest dementia-related death rate, according to Alzheimer’s statistics worldwide.

(World Life Expectancy)

Following statistical data from the World Health Organization for 2017, the highest death rate due to Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia is recorded in Finland, where there were 65.70 recorded dementia and Alzheimer’s deaths per 100,000 population. 

Following Finland were Kuwait, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, with 58.17, 51.11, and 49.94 deaths per 100,000, respectively. The US was ranked eighth, with 44.41 deaths per 100,000 population. In 2017, countries with the lowest death rates due to Alzheimer’s and other dementia were Singapore, Kyrgyzstan, and the Philippines. 

5. Dementia statistics for the period 2000–2017 expose a 213% rise in dementia-related deaths.

(Science Direct, Statista)

US statistics for 2017 counted almost 262,000 deaths that had dementia as an underlying cause, out of which 121,404 of them were due to Alzheimer’s disease.

Over the course of seven years, the US figures for dementia deaths had shown a staggering increase in the death toll since the year 2000, when there were 83,694 deaths attributed to dementia.

The calculated difference of 178,220 new deaths represents an increase of almost 213% over the period 2000–2017, whereas Alzheimer’s death toll increased by 145%.

6. Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures showed that, in 2017, Vermont had the highest Alzheimer’s death toll in the US.

(Statista)

A survey conducted in 2017 showed that, in that year, Vermont recorded 59.3 deaths caused by Alzheimer’s per 100,000 of the population, making it the state with the biggest number of Alzheimer’s deaths for 2017. 

Following Vermont was Mississippi, with 54.5 deaths per 100,000 population. Alabama, Tennessee, and North Dakota were next, with death rates of 52.6, 52.4, and 51.2 per 100,000, respectively. On the other hand, New York State counted the lowest number of Alzheimer-related deaths (43 per 100,000 of the population).

7. Alzheimer’s disease statistics confirm that 1 in 3 patients aged 59–75 dies within 5 years after being diagnosed.

(BioMedCentral, JHSPH)

Results from a 2002 study show that the median survival rate for patients with Alzheimer’s is  8.3 years for those diagnosed at 65, and it’s 3.4 years for those diagnosed at the age of 90. However, individual factors may contribute to a slower or more rapid decline of the disease and modify these expectations. 

Another study found that 35% of those aged 59–75 died five years after their diagnosis. The biggest risk factors were shown to be old age, male gender, high presence of biomarkers, and severe cognitive impairment, excluding comorbidities.

Alzheimer’s Disease Statistics by US Demographics 


8. 81% of Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease are 75 or older.

(Science Direct)

In 2019, there were 5.8 million Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The biggest share of patients (81%) belonged to the age group of 75 or older. The smallest percentage of approximately 3% were people younger than 65, classified as individuals with early-onset of Alzheimer’s disease (EOAD). 

16% of those struggling with Alzheimer’s were in the age group 65–74 years, representing some 900,000 individuals. A staggering 2.6 million Americans aged 75–84 (or 45%) were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and another 36% of the total number of patients were individuals older than 85. 

 9. Alzheimer’s disease stats show that the racial disparities in prevalence amongst blacks and whites are slowly disappearing.

(NCBI, Science Direct)

A scientific article published in 2018 showed that, when it comes to the prevalence of Alzheimer’s, racial disparity amongst the blacks and whites in America is declining. Today, this ratio is 1.5:1.5 as opposed to 2:1 in 2004. 

However, the racial difference in dementia incidence is growing between the Hispanic population and the white population (2:1). There is a strong suspicion that these differences are even bigger because missed diagnosis is more common for ethnic minorities than in whites.

10. Alzheimer’s disease facts state that women have a slightly higher chance of developing this disease. 

(Statista)

According to the 2015 estimations, women have a slightly higher risk of developing this disease. Following statistical data, American men aged 45 have a 10.3% risk of developing Alzheimer’s in their lifetime, while women of the same age have an 11.6% chance of sharing the same fate. 

The same correlation is observed in those older than 65, where men presented 19.5% chances of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, whereas women aged 65 years and over had 21.1% risk of developing this disease.

11. In 2019, Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures revealed that 32% of the people older than 65 with mild cognitive impairment would develop Alzheimer’s in 5 years.

(Alzheimer’s Association) 

A study published in the 2019 report of the Alzheimer’s Association shows that 15–20% of the US population aged over 65 has a mild cognitive impairment (MCI) of any cause. One study showed an increased risk for these demographics to develop Alzheimer’s or other dementias.

Namely, after a 2-year follow-up, 15% of these individuals developed dementia. The analysis of a bigger poll of studies showed that 32% of Americans over 56 with MCI developed Alzheimer’s dementia within five years. 

12. Statistics on Alzheimer’s reveal that around 200,000 people aged 30–60 in the US struggle with early-onset Alzheimer’s. 

(NCBI, Science Direct)

A 2016 survey discovered that figures for the early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (EOAD) are much higher than the previously thought, 1–2%, and go along the lines of 5.5% of the total number of cases.

A meta-analysis that included 13 papers noted a prevalence of 5.9% of EOAD in the developed countries and 4.4% in the developing countries. In the US, around 200,000 people had an early onset of Alzheimer’s disease in 2019, representing roughly 3% of the total numbers.

13. Alzheimer’s disease statistics confirm that people with higher formal education have lower chances of developing Alzheimer’s and other dementias. 

(Alzheimer’s Association)

Having a longer formal education is beneficial to the so-called cognitive reserve. Connections between neurons are stronger in people who are stimulated by cognitive tasks.

This enables for better plasticity or adaptability of the brain tissue, which, even when affected by Alzheimer’s, can compensate and slow down cognitive decline. Other risk factors in correlation to formal education are the socio-economic status, which plays a big role in the onset of many diseases, including Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Alzheimer’s Disease Statistics: Risks Factors


14. Animal studies show a possible connection between gut bacteria and beta-amyloid plaque formation in the brain.

(Science Daily)

A 2017 research at Lund University found a connection between plaques formation — a typical process characteristic for the Alzheimer’s brain and the gut bacteria in mice. This study observed the gut flora (the composition of different types of bacteria) of mice with Alzheimer’s disease and healthy mice. 

Researchers concluded that certain gut bacteria were directly involved in beta-amyloid plaque formation in the brain, and if they were transferred to the healthy mice, they will, in turn, develop these brain malformations. However, further studies are needed to confirm these findings in humans.

15. Interesting facts about Alzheimer’s show that ex-professional football players have a 5 times higher risk of developing this disease. 

(Medical News Today) 

A long-term study, including 7,676 ex-professional footballers, showed that they had a 3.5 times higher chance of dying of nerve or brain damage than other populations. Researchers believe that this statistic is most certainly due to repeated head trauma when heading the heavy leather ball. 

Consequently, goalkeepers were 59% less likely to be diagnosed with the disease than footballers. The risk of developing Alzheimer’s among football players was found to be five times higher than in other populations. 

16. Benzodiazepines were linked to a 30% increased risk of pneumonia in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, facts in a scientific study show. 

(Science Daily)

Research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal concludes that popular sedatives such as benzodiazepines, which are used in managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can be a risk factor for these patients to develop pneumonia. 

The research comparing the data for pneumonia incidence and the use of Z-drugs (non-benzodiazepines) and benzodiazepines in participants with a median age of 80, showed that benzodiazepines increase the risk of pneumonia by 30%.

This is most probably due to the increasing aspiration of food or saliva into the lungs caused by the sedative effect of these drugs in Alzheimer’s patients.  

17. Facts about Alzheimer’s disease show that 50% of people with Down syndrome have Alzheimer’s dementia in their 60s. 

(Alzheimer’s Association)

Individuals with Down syndrome are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than the rest of the population.

This is because the chromosome 21 (which is present in three copies in these individuals instead of two) is responsible for the synthesis of the Alzheimer’s-related protein that accumulates as plaques in the so-called “Alzheimer’s brain.” 

By their 40s, most people with Down syndrome have accumulated high amounts of beta-amyloid in their brains. Hence 30% of them in their 50s and 50% in their 60s will develop Alzheimer’s dementia.

18. Facts on Alzheimer’s disease show that sleep apnea is closely linked to the onset of Alzheimer’s.

(AARP)

In a recent study, 43% of the surveyed 288 individuals older than 65, with no symptoms of cognitive impairment, were subject to brain analysis due to reported sleep apnea.

The results showed that in all of the investigated subjects, the levels of proteins related to Alzheimer’s were higher for 4.5% in the part of the brain that is related to memory. 

Another research conducted in 2017 confirmed these results, adding that the concentration of the Alzheimer’s biomarkers (specific proteins) was proportionate to the severity of the sleep apnea.

Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosis 


19. 55% of Americans that are aware of their cognitive decline don’t consult with a physician.

(Science Direct)

A 2015–2016 survey showed that 11% of Americans aged 45 and older reported experiencing a cognitive decline. However, only 45% of these individuals scheduled a medical consultation for this symptom. 

Since alcohol consumption, sleep apnea, depression, thyroid problems, and certain medications can provoke symptoms similar to those of dementia, not everyone who subjectively observes a decline in his mental capacities will develop MCI or Alzheimer’s, but statistics show that a big percent of them do. Hence, consulting a professional is always a good choice.

20. Facts about Alzheimer’s confirm that it can be detected early on by the simple means of cognitive tests.

(Science Daily)

Alzheimer’s disease is usually detected by PET scanning and analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid of the patients that present the typical signs of Alzheimer’s. However, these methods are invasive, expensive, and inaccessible for many. 

Early detection is crucial for a better prognosis, and scientists found out that this can be done by assessing cognition decline. The results of the meta-analysis of 61 studies showed that specific cognition tests could be an indicator of the onset of Alzheimer’s if a basic cognition test result is obtained previously for comparison.

21. Recent Alzheimer’s facts show that brain changes can be present for 22 years before the onset of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.

(Alzheimer’s Association)

A 2018 study showed that in the case where a rare genetic mutation inevitably leads to Alzheimer’s, the indicators of the existence of the disease could be found as early as 22 years before the onset of any of the Alzheimer’s symptoms

In these individuals, and probably all other cases of Alzheimer’s, there is a longer preclinical stage of the disease than previously thought, during which the brain manages to compensate for the damaged and dead neurons.

The glucose metabolism decline can begin 18 years prior to the onset of symptoms, and the typical atrophy or the Alzheimer’s brain can be detected 13 years prior to that. 

22. Alzheimer’s facts and figures show that 30% of patients with clinical Alzheimer’s symptoms don’t have Alzheimer’s-related dementia.

(Science Direct)

Currently, researchers are working towards providing a so-called biomarker-based data for Alzheimer’s disease prevalence that should give significantly different estimates than the ones we have. Biomarkers are the morphological and chemical changes that are present in patients. 

Recent research found that as much as 30% of people with normal cognition can test positive for Alzheimer’s biomarkers. In contrast to this, the autopsy of some 30% of people who died due to clinical-symptoms diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia didn’t have the necessary brain atrophy related to Alzheimer’s, so their dementia was not caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

23. Alzheimer’s disease symptoms go undiagnosed for an average of 1.5 years.

(SciELO)

A 2011 study found that the median time delay from the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms to diagnosis was 1.5 years. For 36% of patients, family members believed that memory-related troubles were a normal part of the process of aging and this delayed diagnosis for 1.8 years. In contrast, in 45.3% of cases, the delay happened due to a physician’s inability to reach a diagnosis. 

Patients with Alzheimer’s consulted two doctors on average prior diagnosis, but some had multiple visits to three or more physicians delaying the time of diagnosis for 1.5, 1.7, and 3.2 years, respectively. 

24. Behavioral Alzheimer’s disease symptoms like depression, anxiety, and aggression are more common in younger patients.

 (NCBI)

It is widely known that memory loss is one of the first telltale signs of Alzheimer’s disease, but recent research shows that in younger patients, other symptoms like visuospatial problems, social withdrawal, or poor judgment can precede memory-loss as a symptom of this disease. 

A 2015 study found that, in 26% of the Alzheimer patients that were younger than 60, the first symptom was not memory-related. In comparison, in patients older than 70, this study found that only 8% had other non-memory related symptoms of Alzheimer’s that preceded the memory loss.

Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease: Facts and Figures 


25. US statistics for 2018 show an average lifetime healthcare charge of $350,174 per person with Alzheimer’s dementia.

(Science Direct)

A group of researchers calculated the average cost of lifetime care for Americans with Alzheimer’s dementia. It includes the out-of-pocket costs, Medicaid, and Medicare, as well as the worth of the informal caregiving for 2018, at $350,174 per person with dementia. 

Due to gender differences of prevalence, and life expectancy, the Medicaid expenditures were estimated as 70% greater for female patients.

What’s more, the additional charge that individuals with Alzheimer’s face, when compared with the population with other diseases and comorbidities, was estimated at $199,871 for 2018. 

26. Alzheimer’s statistics worldwide in 2018 show that there are 102 clinical trials aimed at modifying this disease.

(AlzDiscovery, Alzheimer’s Association) 

There have been 100 attempts for effective drug treatment of Alzheimer’s since 1998, and only four officially approved medications. Clinical trial data in 2018 showed that there were over 220 active clinical studies regarding Alzheimer’s disease that included pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments, as well as analysis of diagnostic agents for PET scans. 

As much as 102 of the trials were aimed at pharmacological modification of Alzheimer’s, out of which 15 for drugs focused on addressing symptoms and 14 were prevention drugs. In 2018, there were 17 drugs in phase three of clinical trials.

27. There were 18,505 million hours of unpaid care for people with dementia in 2018, Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures reveal.

(Statista)

Patients struggling with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in the higher stage are in need of progressively bigger medical care and help in their daily activities.

Often, the responsibility of caring for such a person falls on the close family members who are helping out with unpaid assistance and care that reached around 18,505 million hours in 2018. 

This year, there were approximately 16.25 million caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. The estimated value of their non-paid work was $234 billion in 2018. 

28. Dementia statistics show that two-thirds of caregivers are wives, and one-third are daughters of dementia patients.

 (Science Direct)

Statistics show that over two-thirds of people who look after people with dementia are women. As shown by the results of a 2014 survey, 67% of those who provided care superior to 20 hours per week were women. 

Furthermore, a 2016 survey confirms that 73% of those who cared for a loved one who has dementia for more than 40 hours per week were women. Women are also two and a half times more likely to live together with the dementia-affected individual and care for them for five years or more.

29. Statistics of Alzheimer’s disease for 2014 show that 40% of the people in residential care were diagnosed with this disease in the US.

(Statista)

Statistical data obtained by a survey of 835,200 US patients in residential care was used to explore the most frequent diagnosis among the Americans in residential care in 2014.

The results showed that 40% of them were struggling with Alzheimer’s disease, making it the second most frequent diagnosis amongst the residential population after cardiovascular diseases. The patients with Alzheimer’s dementia were frequently placed in little communities of 4–25 beds, and rarely in large residential communities of over 50 beds.

30. Regular mental activity can lead to a 2.6 times reduction in the chances of developing dementia, facts in a recent research show.

(Science Daily)

A study involving over 700 individuals with an average age of 80 conducted with yearly cognitive testing, showed that individuals who stayed cognitively active had a 2.6 times lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. 

The activities in question were in the ranks of visiting a library or attending a play, reading a newspaper, playing chess, or engaging in other mentally stimulating activities.

All of these activities needed to be exercised regularly to maintain a decent cognitive level and to lower the rates of dementia in the older population.

31. Alzheimer’s stats show that regular aerobic exercise can slow down Alzheimer’s-related dementia.

(CNN)

A study involving 70 participants older than 55 with mild cognitive impairment revealed that regular aerobic exercise could slow down the decline in cognitive capacity of people with a high risk of developing Alzheimer’s. 

The training, which lasted 12 months, included aerobic exercise and stretching, and revealed that aerobic exercises had a better impact on the preservation of cognitive functions. A significant reduction in shrinkage of the hippocampal brain region that is responsible for memory was noted in this study, indicating slower atrophy of the brain.


FAQ

What are the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease?

Some of the most common Alzheimer’s symptoms are the following:

  • Memory loss that poses problems in the normal daily functioning of the individual, particularly forgetting recently learned information. 
  • Difficulties in planning and solving problems, particularly following tasks that involve numbers and counting. 
  • Struggling or taking the time that is longer than usual to complete a familiar task or find the path to a familiar place. 
  • Confusing the dates and having no time orientation.
  • Having troubles with understanding visual-spatial relationships in images is another one of the most frequent Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.
  • Encountering difficulties to finish a sentence or find the correct word.
  • Being unable to find things because of the inability to retrace steps or because of misplacing the object.
  • Poor decision making, such as spending too much money or not taking care of personal hygiene. 
  • Social isolation because of the inability to follow a conversation and disrupting favorite hobbies because of the inability to remember how to perform them correctly.  
  • Personality changes towards anxious and disproportionate responses when someone or someplace is not familiar.

 The frequency and severity of the symptoms are in relation to the different stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

What percentage of people 85 and older have Alzheimer’s disease?

Around 36% of the people aged 85 and over in the US have Alzheimer’s disease. This percentage is expected to reach 40–50% when the baby-boomers reach this age. Global statistics from 2005 estimate that around 20–25% of the global population over 85 has Alzheimer’s.

When does Alzheimer’s start?

The average onset age for Alzheimer’s symptoms is around the age of 65, but the median time needed to reach a diagnosis is around 2.8 years. In the US, the vast majority of diagnosed Alzheimer patients are 75 or older (81%). Statistical data reveals that one in every 10 Americans aged over 65, and one in three aged over 85 have Alzheimer’s.

How common is Alzheimer’s?

The WHO estimates that there are around 44 million people affected by Alzheimer’s. However, this disease is expected to affect 81 million people globally by 2040. The US counted 5.8 million people with Alzheimer’s in 2019. 

When was Alzheimer’s discovered?

Alzheimer’s disease was discovered on November 3, 1906, by the German clinical psychiatrist and neuroanatomist Alois Alzheimer following the case of a 50-year woman called Auguste D. Dr. Alzheimer described her symptoms as progressive sleep disturbance, memory loss, paranoia, and aggression. After her death, he discovered the typical morphology (plaques) of what is later to be known as Alzheimer’s brain. He also examined three other cases of this disease and described the different stages of Alzheimer’s as with and without plaques.

What are the 7 stages of Alzheimer’s?

Today, the experts recognize three large stages of Alzheimer’s disease, such as preclinical phase, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and dementia. The last two are further divided into very mild and mild changes; and mild, moderate, severe, and very severe decline.  

In the first stage, patients have the bio-indicators such as structural changes in the brain, along with the molecules that indicate the presence of Alzheimer’s in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid, but the typical Alzheimer’s-related symptoms such as memory loss are still absent. In contrast, in the other six Alzheimer’s stages, symptoms are present to various degrees that progress along with the stages of the disease.

What is the largest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease?

Even though the exact causes of dementia due to Alzheimer’s are not yet known, the most significant evident risk factor for this disease is the increase of age. Alzheimer’s facts also point to family history as a risk factor, which can indicate a genetic predisposition or environmental factor. Other potential contributors to developing Alzheimer’s are head injuries and any kind of cardiovascular illness, including stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

How long can you live with Alzheimer’s?

Even though Alzheimer’s cure doesn’t exist yet, modern medicine has put in place Alzheimer’s treatment that may slow down the progression of symptoms. The average life expectancy after diagnosis ranges from four to eight years, and some people can live up to 20 years with this disease if the symptoms progress slowly. The individual factor plays a big role in Alzheimer’s prognosis, but there might also be other factors that are not yet known in modern medicine.


Conclusion

The aging of the baby-boom generation puts enormous pressure on science to find an effective solution to Alzheimer’s disease. Over the years, over a hundred substances deemed useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s have failed, leaving us with a handful of medicines which, unfortunately, do not affect the progress of this disease. However, scientists claim that we’re a step away from finding a more effective way to prevent and treat this disease, which, following Alzheimer’s disease statistics, will save many human lives and preserve economies across the globe. 

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