About 5-7% of the population over 60 years of age have dementia worldwide. It was estimated that 35.6 million people lived with dementia worldwide in 2010, and at the time the numbers were expected to increase to 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050. However, a new fact sheet published by the World Health Organization in December 2017 estimates that around 50 million people worldwide are now suffering from dementia – a staggering increase that far outpaces estimates from 2010. New estimates show that by 2030 82 million people will suffer from dementia with that number to increase to 152 million by 2050.
The growth in numbers of people with dementia in high-income (HIC) and low- and middle-income countries (LMIC).
Approximately 15% of the U.S. population aged 70 and older has dementia; in 2010 dementia care cost the U.S. up to $215 billion per year ($11 billion of which is paid for by Medicare), with the average cost of care for a patient with dementia is between $41,689 and $56,290 a year (“Monetary costs of dementia in the United States.” Hurd MD, Martorell P, Delavande A, Mullen KJ, Langa KM. , N Engl J Med. 2013 Apr 4;368(14):1326-34). The aging of the U.S. population will result in an increase of nearly 80 percent in total societal costs per adult by 2040. By 2050, this amount will exceed $1 trillion annually, and will bankrupt Medicare.
One in three adults 65 and older dies with dementia. Having dementia can interfere with care for other conditions like cancer or heart disease, further adding to health care costs. Dementia refers to symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain, impacting memory loss, interfering with normal activity and causing personality changes. Brain damage, strokes or diseases can cause dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, at 60-80%, (totaling 5.4 million adults in 2012, or one in 8 people over age 65 in the United States, and nearly 50% over age 85) but there are over 100 types of dementia, including vascular dementia from small strokes, which accounts for up to 20% of dementias, dementia from Parkinson’s disease, and Frontotemporal dementia (which accounts for 10-20% of dementias). “Mixed dementia”—Alzheimer’s plus another type of dementia—has been shown in autopsies to occur in up to 45 percent of people with dementia.
No medication exists to slow or stop the progression of dementia (which the FDA refers to as “disease-modification”).
Rising rates and a lack of an effective cure against dementia prompted the Obama administration to unveil its National Alzheimer’s Plan, to find a better treatment for the devastating disease by 2025. In 2011, the federal government allotted $450 million for Alzheimer’s research through the National Institutes of Health, compared to over $3 billion for HIV/AIDS, over $4 billion for heart and cardiovascular disease, and nearly $6 billion for cancer. In February 2012 the Obama administration announced an increase in the federal budget for Alzheimer’s research of $130 million, bringing the total to $580 million. Alzheimer’s disease is the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States for those age 65 and older, but the only one in the top ten without a means of prevention, a way to slow its progression, or a cure.
Clear Thoughts Foundation is dedicated to finding therapeutics that fundamentally stop these diseases.