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New report reveals global cost of Alzheimer’s and related dementias is more than $600 billionU.S. Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures

New report reveals global cost of Alzheimer’s and related dementias is more than $600 billionU.S. Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures
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September 20, 2010
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New report reveals global cost of Alzheimer’s and related dementias is more than $600 billion

The total estimated worldwide costs of dementia are $604 billion in 2010, according to the newly released World Alzheimer Report 2010: The Global Economic Impact of Dementia from Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), a London-based, nonprofit, international federation of 73 national Alzheimer organizations, including the Alzheimer’s Association (U.S.).

Released on World Alzheimer’s Day, Sept. 21, the report found that:

  • Dementia care costs around 1 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP).
    • If dementia care were a country, it would be the world’s 18th largest economy (ranking between Turkey and Indonesia).
    • If dementia care was a company, it would be the world’s largest by annual revenue, exceeding Wal-Mart ($414 billion) and Exxon Mobil ($311 billion).
  • By 2030, worldwide societal costs will increase by 85 percent (a very conservative estimate considering only increases in the number of people with dementia).
  • Worldwide, the costs of dementia are set to soar.
    • The report finds that costs in low and middle income countries are likely to rise much faster than in high income countries, because, with economic development, costs will increase towards levels seen in high income countries, and because increases in numbers of people with dementia will be much sharper in those regions.

In the report, costs were attributed to the direct costs of medical care (the costs of treating dementia and other conditions in primary and secondary care), direct costs of social care (provided in residential care settings and by community care professionals) and informal care (unpaid care provided by family caregivers and others).

“This report clearly illustrates that dementia is already affecting health systems around the world, and for the families who are forced to face Alzheimer’s the anguish is universal,” said Harry Johns, Alzheimer’s Association president and CEO. “The World Alzheimer Report 2010 urges all countries — including the United States — to develop national plans to deal with the disease.

“Given the magnitude and the impact of Alzheimer’s, the U.S. federal government’s response to this crisis has been stunningly neglectful,” said Johns. “We know Alzheimer’s will place a massive strain on an already overburdened healthcare system, especially Medicare and Medicaid. Substantial investment in Alzheimer research is required to avoid an even more painful future for American families and already overwhelmed state and federal budgets. Yet, the government has no national plan for how to deal with this crisis.”

The Association is working to enact critical legislation to address these issues. The National Alzheimer’s Project Act (S.3036/H.R.4689) would create a National Alzheimer’s Project Office and an inter-agency Advisory Council responsible for developing a national plan to overcome the Alzheimer crisis. This new office would provide strategic planning and coordination for the fight against Alzheimer’s across the federal government as a whole, touching on issues from research to care to support, at no additional cost to the government.

“We need all Americans concerned about Alzheimer’s disease to tell their representatives in Congress and the president to pass the National Alzheimer’s Project Act as a significant step forward in the fight against Alzheimer’s,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer’s Association vice president of public policy.

This summer, the Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer research community have been working —and cycling — together to do just that. The Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Ride was originally conceived by Alzheimer researcher Bruce Lamb, Ph.D., of the Department of Neurosciences at the Lerner Research Institutes of the Cleveland Clinic and the Departments of Neurosciences and Genetics at Case Western Reserve University, who shared the idea with the Alzheimer’s Association and then enlisted the participation of researchers and scientists from across the country.

“It was a Sunday morning last summer and I was on my usual bike ride,” Lamb said. “I felt increasingly concerned about the declining funding for Alzheimer research through the National Institute on Aging. Because of this, many Alzheimer’s research laboratories were forced to contract in size and some closed altogether. Even worse, critical research that could provide new insights into potential Alzheimer therapies would not be conducted. Given the increasing number of people affected by Alzheimer’s, more research is required, not less.”

The Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Ride engaged more than 55 researchers and 100,000 Americans to urge Congress to make Alzheimer’s a national priority. Demonstrating both the urgency of the issue and the dedication of the research community, these researchers spent 67 days this summer cycling relay-style throughout the United States to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease.

Today, the Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Ride culminates at Upper Senate Park in Washington, D.C., when the Alzheimer’s Association and the research riders present a petition with more than 100,000 signatures to Congress.

“A crisis of this magnitude requires commitment and dedication from all of us — from citizens, the scientific community, business and government,” said Lamb. “The outpouring of support from the public has been overwhelming as we’ve cycled across the country. Now we need elected officials to prove they understand what’s at stake by developing a comprehensive Alzheimer’s disease strategy and investing in research.”

In addition to the recommendation for countries to develop national Alzheimer’s plans, the 2010 World Alzheimer Report contains six further recommendations, which call on governments to increase dementia research funding, develop policies and plans for long-term care, and ensure access to cost-effective and appropriate healthcare services.

U.S. Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures

In the United States, according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures 2010, there are as many as 5.3 million Americans living with the disease and every 70 seconds someone in America develops Alzheimer’s. In 2010, there will be a half million new cases of Alzheimer’s. By 2050, there will be nearly a million new cases of Alzheimer’s every year.

Alzheimer’s was the seventh-leading cause of death in the country in 2006, the latest year for which final death statistics are available. It was the fifth-leading cause of death among individuals aged 65 and older. From 2000 to 2006, death rates have declined for most major diseases — heart disease (-11.1 percent), breast cancer (-2.6 percent), prostate cancer (-8.7 percent), stroke (-18.2 percent) and HIV/AIDS (-16.3) — while Alzheimer’s disease deaths rose 46.1 percent.

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that total U.S. payments for health and long-term care services for people with these conditions will amount to $172 billion from all sources in 2010. Nearly 11 million U.S. family members and other unpaid caregivers provided 12.5 billion hours of care for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, valued at $144 billion.

2010 World Alzheimer Report
The 2010 World Alzheimer Report is a culmination of the most comprehensive, current data on the prevalence of dementia and the costs associated with care for people affected in different world regions. Methodology used to prepare the 2010 World Alzheimer’s Report is explained in the full printed report and can be found online at

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