Alzheimer’s Research UK believes humanity is at a “tipping point” and that substantial funding is required to help with treatments. Chief executive Hilary Evans spoke out after US scientists predicted cases would rise from 57.4 million in 2019 to 152.8 million by 2050. Around 920,000 have dementia in the UK – a figure set to more than double by mid-century because of population growth and ageing.
Ms Evans says it is our “greatest long-term medical challenge”, adding: “These striking figures lay bare the shocking scale of dementia.
“We need concerted global action now to transform prospects for the next generation.
“New drugs are in sight, but they won’t be a panacea. Reducing cases is a key focus and global leaders need to come together.”
The findings, led by Washington University, are based on trends from 1999 to 2019 in a global study that outlines risk factors responsible for the growth of the condition. The main ones – smoking, high body mass index and high blood sugar – will offset the benefits of better education, yesterday’s virtual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference heard.
Regions set to be worst hit are sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East.
Ms Evans said: “Dementia doesn’t just affect individuals, it can devastate families, friends and loved ones.
“The heartbreaking personal costs go hand-in-hand with huge economic and societal impacts. All of these will shoot up alongside the number of people affected.”
Dementia is caused by the impact of brain illnesses on memory, behaviour and performing everyday activities.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form, making up about 70 percent of cases.