Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

Font Size

Alzheimer's Disease Set to Explode

Prediction: 106 Million Alzheimer's Patients by 2050
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

June 11, 2007 -- Today, 26.6 million people worldwide suffer Alzheimer's disease. In just over 40 years, that number will quadruple to more than 106 million patients -- and 43% of them will need full-time care in nursing homes.

This grim prediction of the global burden of Alzheimer's disease comes from Johns Hopkins researcher Ron Brookmeyer, PhD, and colleagues. The researchers base their forecast on a complex computer model fed United Nations population projections and data on Alzheimer's disease.

"We face a looming global epidemic of Alzheimer's disease as the world's population ages," Brookmeyer says in a news release. "By 2050, one in 85 people worldwide will have Alzheimer's disease."

The only good news from the computer model is that if new ways are found to slow the disease, it would significantly reduce the global burden of Alzheimer's -- even if these new treatments had only modest effects.

Delaying Alzheimer's onset by just one year would reduce the 2050 case load by 12 million patients.

But not all breakthroughs are equal. If researchers succeed in slowing Alzheimer's progression as well as delaying onset, there would be only 9.2 million fewer cases by 2050 -- because people with the disease would survive longer.

"The worldwide costs will be huge," Brookmeyer and colleagues warn.

Currently, nearly half of the people with Alzheimer's disease live in Asia. That proportion is expected to grow to 59% by 2050, with nearly 64 million cases.

Brookmeyer's reported the grim numbers to the Second Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Prevention of Dementia, held June 9-12 in Washington. The findings also appear in the Alzheimer's Association journal Alzheimer's & Dementia.

  • Alzheimer's can be an elusive to spot in a loved one, especially in early stages. How did you and your loved one's medical team determine it was Alzheimer's? What was your diagnostic journey? Tell us in our Alzheimer's Disease: Support Group.

Today on WebMD

Remember your finger
When it’s more than just forgetfulness.
senior man with serious expression
Which kinds are treatable?
senior man
Common symptoms to look for.
mri scan of human brain
Can drinking red wine reverse the disease?
eating blueberries
Colored mri of brain
Close up of elderly couple holding hands
mature woman
Woman comforting ailing mother
Senior woman with serious expression