Currently, an estimated 44 million people worldwide have dementia. That number is expected to reach 76 million in 2030 and 135 million by 2050. Those estimates come from an Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) policy brief for the upcoming G8 Dementia Summit in London, England.
The projected number of people with dementia in 2050 is now 17% higher than ADI estimated in the 2009 World Alzheimer Report.
The new policy brief also predicts a shift in the worldwide distribution of dementia cases, from the richest nations to middle- and low-income countries. By 2050, 71% of people with dementia will live in middle- and low-income nations, according to the experts.
Research must become a global priority if improvements are to be made to the quality and coverage of dementia care. Equal emphasis should be given to policy-making, health and social care service and health system development, the report recommends.
More research needed
"At the eve of the G8 Dementia Summit . . . it is not just the G8 countries, but all nations, that must commit to a sustained increase in dementia research," ADI executive director Marc Wortmann said.
The G8 Dementia Summit will seek to identify and agree on a new international approach to dementia research and policy.
"The absence of dementia public policy renders governments woefully unprepared for the dementia epidemic, and there is an urgent need for a collaborative, global action plan for governments, industry and nonprofit organizations like Alzheimer associations," the ADI news release stated.
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about dementia.
(Picture: Old man representing dementia from Shutterstock)