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World population growth has been accompanied by a progressive increase in the number of older people. Government-supported medical research and scientific discoveries as well as improved education and living conditions have greatly reduced the chances of pandemics caused by infectious pathogens. In developed countries, life expectancy is now rising well above 80 years. Although in older people the prevailing causes of death are still cardiovascular diseases and cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and other neurodegenerative disorders that are known to be strongly age-related are among the top ten illnesses ending with death that cannot yet be cured or slowed significantly.