Alzheimer's disease to quadruple worldwide by 2050

June 10, 2007

More than 26 million people worldwide were estimated to be living with Alzheimer’s disease in 2006, according to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The researchers also concluded the global prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease will grow to more than 106 million by 2050. By that time, 43 percent of those with Alzheimer’s disease will need high-level care, equivalent to that of a nursing home. The findings were presented June 10 at the Second Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Prevention of Dementia held in Washington, D.C. and are published in the Association’s journal, Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

“We face a looming global epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease as the world’s population ages,” said the study’s lead author, Ron Brookmeyer, PhD, professor in Biostatistics and chair of the Master of Public Health Program at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. “By 2050, 1 in 85 persons worldwide will have Alzheimer’s disease. However, if we can make even modest advances in preventing Alzheimer’s disease or delay its progression, we could have a huge global public health impact.”

According to Brookmeyer and his co-authors, interventions that could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by as little as one year would reduce prevalence of the disease by 12 million fewer cases in 2050. A similar delay in both the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease would result in a smaller overall reduction of 9.2 million cases by 2050, because slower disease progression would mean more people surviving with early-stage disease symptoms. However, nearly all of that decline would be attributable to decreases in those needing costly late-stage disease treatment in 2050.

The largest increase in the prevalence of Alzheimer’s will occur in Asia, where 48 percent of the world’s Alzheimer’s cases currently reside. The number of Alzheimer’s cases is expected to grow in Asia from 12.65 million in 2006 to 62.85 million in 2050; at that time, 59 percent of the world’s Alzheimer’s cases will live in Asia.

To forecast the worldwide prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease, the researcher created a multi-state mathematical computer model using United Nations population projections and other data on the incidence and mortality of Alzheimer’s.

Source: Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Explore further: Penn physician argues for 'meaningful' update to national Alzheimer's act

Related Stories

Common prostate cancer treatment linked to later dementia

October 13, 2016

A new retrospective study of patient medical records suggests that men with prostate cancer who are treated with testosterone-lowering drugs are twice as likely to develop dementia within five years as prostate cancer patients ...

Recommended for you

Zika virus infection alters human and viral RNA

October 20, 2016

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have discovered that Zika virus infection leads to modifications of both viral and human genetic material. These modifications—chemical tags known as ...

Food-poisoning bacteria may be behind Crohn's disease

October 19, 2016

People who retain a particular bacterium in their gut after a bout of food poisoning may be at an increased risk of developing Crohn's disease later in life, according to a new study led by researchers at McMaster University.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.