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World Alzheimer's Day- September 21st

by Clive Riddle, September 21, 2010

In observance of World Alzheimer's Day, Alzheimer’s Disease International has issued the World Alzheimer Report 2010. Here’s ten quick facts we gathered from the report:

  1. There are 35.6 million people living with dementia worldwide in 2010
  2. The total estimated worldwide costs of dementia are US$604 billion in 2010
  3. Total dementia costs account for around 1% of the world’s gross domestic product
  4. The total estimated worldwide costs of dementia are US$604 billion in 2010
  5. Direct medical costs account for 16% of total dementia costs
  6. Direct social care costs account for 42% of total dementia costs
  7. Costs of informal care (unpaid care by families, etc.) account for 42% of total dementia costs
  8. About 70% of worldwide dementia costs occur in Western Europe and North America
  9. If dementia care were a country, it would be the world’s 18th largest economy, ranking between Turkey and Indonesia
  10. If dementia were a company, it would be the world’s largest by annual revenue, exceeding Wal-Mart (US$414 billion) and Exxon Mobil (US$311 billion).

Dr Daisy Acosta, Chairman of Alzheimer’s Disease International tell us,. "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. World governments are woefully unprepared for the social and economic disruptions this disease will cause."

Here, verbatim, is what the report recommends at this point in time:

  • Governments worldwide should act urgently to make Alzheimer’s disease a top priority and develop national plans to deal with the social and health consequences of dementia. Several countries have moved forward to develop national plans, including France, Australia and England. It is critical for other governments to follow suit.
  • Governments and other major research funders must increase research funding to a level more proportionate to the economic burden of the condition. Recently published data from the UK suggests that a 15-fold increase is required to reach parity with research into heart disease, and a 30-fold increase to achieve parity with cancer research.
  • Governments worldwide must develop policies and plans for long-term care that anticipate and address social and demographic trends and have an explicit focus on supporting family caregivers and ensuring social protection of vulnerable people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
  • The scale of what is facing us elevates this to a global challenge, which must be addressed as a top WHO priority and on the G-20/G-8 agenda.

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