The World Alzheimer Report 2010 provides the most current and comprehensive global picture of the economic and social costs of the illness. The Report was jointly authored by Professor Anders Wimo of the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; and Professor Martin Prince, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK.
'This is a wake-up call that Alzheimer's disease and other dementias are the single most significant health and social crisis of the 21st century,' said Doctor Daisy Acosta, Chairman of Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI). 'World governments are woefully unprepared for the social and economic disruptions this disease will cause.'
The worldwide costs of dementia will exceed 1 percent of global GDP in 2010, at US$604 billion.
• The number of people with dementia will double by 2030, and more than triple by 2050.
• The costs of caring for people with dementia are likely to rise even faster than the prevalence – especially in the developing world, as more formal social care systems emerge, and rising incomes lead to higher opportunity costs.
• Reports from individual countries such as the UK suggest that dementia is one of the costliest illnesses – and yet research and investment is at a far lower level than for other major illnesses.
'The scale of this crisis cries out for global action,' said Marc Wortmann, Executive director of ADI. 'History shows that major diseases can be made manageable – and even preventable – with sufficient global awareness and the political will to make substantial investments in research and care options.'
The Report combines the most current prevalence data from the World Alzheimer Report 2009 with improved data on low and middle-income countries from the 10/66 Dementia Research Group studies in Latin America, India and China. The Report uses representative population-based samples from developing countries to better quantify the cost of informal care systems that have previously been excluded from impact estimates.
Co-author Professor Martin Prince urged nations to develop better plans for caring for the millions who have the disease: 'The care of people with dementia is not just a health issue – it is a massive social issue. This is particularly true in low and middle income countries which lack adequate systems of formal care. Governments must show greater leadership, working with all stakeholders, to drive solutions to the long term care issue.'
MEDICA.de; Source: King's College London