02/16/2012 08:26 EST | Updated 04/17/2012 05:12 EDT


WASHINGTON - The Obama administration declared Alzheimer's "one of the most feared health conditions" on Wednesday as it issued a draft of a new national strategy to fight the ominous rise in this mind-destroying disease.

More than five million Americans already have Alzheimer's or similar dementias, a toll expected to reach up to 16 million by 2050 — along with skyrocketing medical and nursing home bills — because the population is aging so rapidly.