Report: Number of Dementia Cases to Reach 135 Million by 2050
The projected number of future cases of dementia continues to grow – and researchers are now estimating that the burden of dealing with these cases will shift to low-income and middle-income countries in less than 40 years.
Alzheimer’s Disease International has released a new report in conjunction with the G8 Dementia Summit that looks at the global impact of dementia through 2050. This publication provides policymakers with new statistics that paint a chilling picture.
With the assistance of researchers from the Global Observatory for Ageing and Dementia at King’s College, ADI projects that the number of people who have dementia will increase from 115 million to 135 million by 2050. That’s a 17-percent increase from the numbers that ADI projected in 2009. ADI also predicts that by 2050, 71 percent of all of the world’s citizens who have dementia will live in low-income or middle-income countries.
“The governments of the world's richest nations are focusing today upon dementia,” said Dr. Martin Prince, a King’s College professor who wrote the ADI report and is quoted in an ADI press release. “This is a global problem that is, increasingly, impacting on developing countries with limited resources and little time to develop comprehensive systems of social protection, health and social care. While we all hope for advances in treatment that could blunt the impact of the coming epidemic, we need to agree now to work together to close the diagnosis and treatment gap. Nobody should be left without access to support and care.”
The report offers eight key recommendations and conclusions. These are:
- The current burden and future impact of this disease has been underestimated. Researchers found a growth in numbers in Asia East and Sub-Saharan African regions, thus suggesting the emphasis will shift soon to poorer nations.
- The researchers believed that 10 percent of dementia cases could be avoided if public health departments can decrease smoking, underactivity, obesity, hypertension and diabetes. ADI recommends that these five areas should be prioritized along with education and other efforts to improve brain function.
- As of 2010, the economic cost of dementia was $604 billion annually. Researchers project that these costs will increase proportionately with the number of new cases, especially in low-income and middle-income nations.
- ADI stresses that research must become a global priority in order to improve the quality of care as well as the coverage of care. In addition, research is needed to identify treatments that slow the disease as well as to identify ways that dementia can be prevented.
- ADI points out that investment into research for a cure needs to be balanced with efforts to improve access to evidence-based care.
- The report suggests that policymakers can learn from the HIV epidemic, which resulted in research success, the creation of well-established health care systems, access to diagnostic technologies, better implementation of world-wide trials, and the availability of drug therapies in low-income and middle-income countries.
- ADI called for dementia to be declared a public health priority. The organization called for national debates on how long-term care will be provided in the future. Thus far, only 13 out of 193 countries that are part of the World Health Organization (WHO) have developed national dementia plans.
- ADI also called for all nations to commit to comprehensive plans that include collaborative action. “International cooperation will be essential and there is a need for a global action plan between governments, industry and non-profit organisations like Alzheimer associations,” the ADI stated.
Primary Source for This Sharepost:
Alzheimer’s Disease International. (2013). Dementia biggest global health challenge facing our generation.
Alzheimer’s Disease International. (2013). Policy brief: The global impact of dementia 2013-2060.