Dr. Malgorzata Bach, director of Rockford Health System's Memory Clinic, Illinois, is leading Rockford's fight against Alzheimer's disease. "It is a growing problem in neurology and we don't have anyone to do this work," she says. "It's an underserved area, in general."
Alzheimer's disease is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. More than five million Americans suffer from the disease and symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time. Patients eventually lose their ability to interact with their environment.
About 14% of Rockford residents are 65 and older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and more people are becoming susceptible. It's this population that led Bach to start the Memory Clinic in 2011. "The crisis people are facing is the main reason I got involved. There are survivors of cancer, but there are no survivors of Alzheimer's," she said.