Alzheimer's Disease Set to Explode
Prediction: 106 Million Alzheimer's Patients by 2050
WebMD News Archive
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
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
"The worldwide costs will be huge," Brookmeyer and colleagues
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
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
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