World Alzheimer's Day: report shows more than 35 million with dementia worldwide

21 September 2009

More than 35 million people worldwide will have dementia in 2010, according to the 2009 World Alzheimer's Report from Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI). The new report was released on September 21, which is World Alzheimer's Day.

This is a 10% increase over previous global dementia prevalence reported in 2005 in The Lancet. According to the new report, dementia prevalence will nearly double every 20 years, to 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050.

According to researchers, the increases in global dementia prevalence were driven primarily by new data from low and middle income countries. Estimates for three regions are higher — Western Europe (7.29% vs. 5.92%), South Asia (5.65% vs. 3.40%) and Latin America (8.50% vs. 7.25%); East Asia is lower (4.98% vs. 6.46%) and North America is effectively identical.

The researchers found that 57.7% of people with dementia in 2010 live in low and middle income countries, rising to 70.5% by 2050. In addition, proportionate increases over the next 20 years in the number of people with dementia will be steeper in low and middle compared with high income countries.

"The information in the 2009 World Alzheimer's Report makes it clear that the crisis of dementia and Alzheimer's cannot be ignored," said Marc Wortmann, ADI's Executive Director. "Unchecked, Alzheimer's will impose enormous burdens on individuals, families, health care infrastructures, and global economy."

"There is hope in taking action by improving and funding dementia care and services, and increasing investment in research," Wortmann said. "Australia, France, Korea and the UK have developed national Alzheimer's action plans, and several more are currently in development. We strongly encourage other countries to follow their example and make Alzheimer's a priority."

The emotional and financial impact of dementia

Chapter 2 of the report focuses on the impact of dementia. Dementia has physical, psychological and economic impact not only the person with the disease, but also caregiver(s), the person's family and friends, healthcare system(s), and society. For example, statistics cited in the new report suggest that 40-75% of carers have significant psychological illness as a result of their caregiving, and 15-32% have depression.

The report also outlines challenges faced by governments and healthcare systems worldwide and offers eight global recommendations based on report findings.

Further information

The full 2009 World Alzheimer's Report, including the methodology used to prepare it, can be found at: 

About Dementia and Alzheimer's

Dementia is a syndrome due to brain disease and is characterized by a progressive, global deterioration in intellectual abilities, including memory, learning, orientation, language, comprehension, and judgment.

Alzheimer's disease, in particular, is progressive and fatal. It mainly affects older people, especially those over age 65. After this age, dementia prevalence doubles every five years. Dementia is one of the major causes of disability in late-life. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia; vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and frontotemporal dementia are the next most common.

World Alzheimer's Day

September 21 2009 is World Alzheimer's Day, when Alzheimer organizations worldwide raise awareness of the disease.
For more information, visit 

Alzheimer's Disease International

Alzheimer's Disease International is an international federation of 71 Alzheimer associations around the world. Each member is the national Alzheimer association in their country that supports people with dementia and their families. ADI's mission is to improve the quality of life of people with dementia and their families throughout the world. Visit 

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