September 21, 2010

Global Dementia Costs To Top $600 Billion In 2010

The global cost of diagnosing and dealing with dementia will top the $600 billion dollar mark in 2010, according to a new report from Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI).

That means that dementia-related expenses are set to top more than one percent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and that more money will be spent fighting Alzheimer's disease and other related ailments than retail giant Wal-Mart will earn in annual revenue this year.

Furthermore, according to Kate Kelland and Julie Steenhuysen of Reuters, "To show the scale of the problem"¦ [the] report said that if the costs of caring for an estimated 35.6 million people with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias were seen as a country, it would be the world's 18th largest economy, ranking between Turkey and Indonesia."

"World governments are woefully unprepared for the social and economic disruptions this disease will cause," ADI chairperson Daisy Acosta told Kelland and Steenhuysen on Tuesday, adding that she felt dementia was "the single most significant health and social crisis of the 21st century."

Furthermore, according to BBC News Health Reporter Michelle Roberts, "The number of people with dementia is expected to double by 2030, and more than triple by 2050"¦ But experts say 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."

Martin Prince of King's College London Institute of Psychiatry in the UK, and Anders Wimo of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, co-authored the study for ADI, a coalition of 73 international Alzheimer-related organizations founded in 1984. According to Roberts, the group is pushing the World Health Organization (WHO) to "make dementia a world priority."

"The scale of this crisis cries out for global action," Marc Wortmann, Executive Director of ADI, said in a press release. "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."


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