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Alzheimer’s, dementia expected to soar in next decades

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According to a new policy brief from the advocacy group Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), we are facing a global epidemic of dementia. ADI’s report, The Global Impact of Dementia 2013-2050, notes an astonishing 17% increase in the number of individuals suffering from dementia, compared to the original ADI estimates in the 2009 World Alzheimer Report. The report was released ahead of the first G8 Dementia Summit, which will take place in London, UK, on December 11. The focus of the summit is to identify and agree a new international approach to dementia research and policy.

According to the policy brief, the number of people suffering from dementia worldwide in 2013 is now estimated at 44 million; it is expected to reach 76 million in 2030, and 135 million by 2050. In addition, the report also predicts a shift in the distribution of the global burden of dementia. Up until the present, high income nations have experienced the strongest visible trends; however, low and middle income nations will now be hit the hardest. By 2050, 71% of people with dementia will live in low and middle income countries. Both the Alzheimer’s Association (US) and ADI will attend the meeting in London. At the meeting, ADI plans to stress the need for national dementia plans that promote early diagnosis and interventions. In addition, ADI, will stress that while funding for research is essential, the provision of good quality care and support for caregivers remains equally important.

ADI notes that the absence of dementia public policy renders governments woefully unprepared for the upcoming dementia epidemic; it stresses that an urgent need exists for a collaborative, global action plan for governments, industry and non-profit organizations such as Alzheimer’s associations. The policy brief recommends that for improvement to be achieved in the quality and coverage of care, research must become a global priority if improvements are to be made to the quality and coverage of care; however, priority must also be given equally to policymaking, health and social care service, and health system development.

Marc Wortmann, Executive Director of ADI, noted, “At the eve of the G8 Dementia Summit in London, UK, it is not just the G8 countries, but all nations, that must commit to a sustained increase in dementia research.”

The policy brief can be viewed at this link.

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