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Alzheimer News 12/15/2005
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Dementia strikes every 7 seconds

Somewhere in the world, someone develops dementia every 7 seconds, according to a new estimate of global prevalence appearing in the Dec. 17 Lancet. An expert workgroup prepared the report for Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI), an umbrella group for dozens of national Alzheimer's organizations.

ADI's new numbers show 24.3 million people worldwide currently have dementia from Alzheimer's disease and all other causes and 4.6 million more develop it every year. The total number will nearly double every 20 years, to 42.3 million in 2020 and 81.1 million in 2040.

"This is the latest in a series of estimates showing numbers of individuals with dementia will skyrocket as our world population ages," says William H. Thies, Ph.D., Alzheimer's Association vice president, medical and scientific affairs. "As staggering as these figures are, they barely hint at the impact these disorders will have on families, communities and health care systems. The only way around the devastation is to fund research at the level needed to move us more quickly toward better treatments and preventive strategies. In the U.S., we think that investment needs to be $1 billion annually."

A 2004 report prepared by the Lewin Group for the Alzheimer's Association projected that new treatments capable of delaying the age of onset for Alzheimer's disease by six years and slowing the rate of progression could save the U.S. $51 billion in Medicare and $10 billion in Medicaid spending by 2015.

ADI's estimate predicts the prevalence of dementia will increase faster in the developing world than in developed countries. By 2040, there will be as many people with dementia in China alone as in the whole of the developed world. Most ADI member organizations are in developing countries.

For more information:

  • Saving Lives, Saving Money: Dividends for Americans Investing in Alzheimer Research (PDF)
    A 2004 report prepared by the Lewin Group for the Alzheimer's Association.

  • June 2005 Alzheimer's Association Prevention Conference news:
    "Worldwide cost of Alzheimer's disease and dementia estimated at $156 billion."


Alzheimer's Association

Our vision: A world without Alzheimer's disease®.
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.