In early January 2022, a study on the development of global dementia prevalence published by the medical journal The Lancet Public Health1 received a lot of attention. The study predicts that the number of cases will triple to 152.8 million by 2050.The World Alzheimer Report 2019 already came to a similar assessment. The most important factors for this explosive development are the ageing of the global population and its further growth.
The increases predicted in the study for a total of 195 countries vary greatly depending on the geographical region.2 The researchers expect a particularly high increase in cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer's dementia in Qatar (1926%) and the United Arab Emirates (1795%), among others, while Japan will record the lowest growth rates (27%). Other examples: USA +100%, China +197%, Germany +65%, France +85%, UK +75%, Switzerland +117%.
More research and prevention are needed
The authors criticise that there are currently many deficits in the recognition, treatment, and care of people with dementia worldwide. The paper's main recommendation is that governments must take early action to ensure the future care of dementia patients. The researchers also call for aggressive prevention measures that minimise the influence of proven risk factors such as obesity, high blood sugar, smoking and low education. In addition, the authors see an urgent need for research focused on discovering disease-modifying treatments.