Enhancing Detection of Subclinical End-Organ Damage: Echocardiographic Left Ventricular Strain Holds Up a Mirror to the Brain
The turn of the 21st century marked an unprecedented achievement in the health of the U.S. and other developed countries, with the extension of life expectancy to over 75 years, as compared with approximately 45 years recorded at the start of the previous century.1 This accomplishment, however, and the promise of further increases in longevity as the present century marches on, has brought to the fore a daunting new challenge posed by the burgeoning of chronic disabling conditions affecting our aging populations. Indeed, morbidity and chronic disability now account for almost half of the U.S. health burden.2 Yet among such chronic conditions, a foremost concern is the rising epidemic of cognitive impairment and dementia.3 With a prevalence in developed countries of roughly 7% among adults aged 60 and older, as many as half of whom require resource-intensive home or institution-based care, dementia alone imposes an outsized societal toll.3 At the economic level, health care expenditures in 2010 for the estimated 35.6 million people affected with dementia worldwide run to an astounding $604 billion, a figure that will push far higher with the disorder's projected tripling in prevalence by 2050.3
- Received July 29, 2013.
- Accepted July 29, 2013.