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Number of people with dementia to rise to 135m by 2050

Posted on 05/12/2013

Image credit: Alzheimer's Disease International

Dementia biggest global health challenge facing our generation

A new report, by researchers at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry and Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) launched today, reveals that the number of people living with dementia worldwide in 2013 is now estimated at 44 million, reaching 76 million in 2030 and 135 million by 2050.

The new data represents a 17% increase in global estimates of people living with dementia, compared to the original data in the 2009 World Alzheimer’s Report which estimated the number of people living with dementia as 35 million in 2010, 66 million in 2030 and 115 million by 2050.

Although high income countries like all those in G8 have borne the brunt of the dementia epidemic, the disease is a global phenomenon. In the next few decades the global burden of the disease will shift to low and middle income countries with 71% of those with dementia living in lower and middle-income countries by 2050.

Professor Martin Prince, from King’s College London and co-author of the report, says: “The governments of the world's richest nations are focusing today upon dementia. This is a global problem that is, increasingly, impacting on developing countries with limited resources and little time to develop comprehensive systems of social protection, health and social care. While we all hope for advances in treatment that could blunt the impact of the coming epidemic, we need to agree now to work together to close the diagnosis and treatment gap. Nobody should be left without access to support and care.”

Marc Wortmann, Executive Director of ADI comments, “At the eve of the G8 Dementia Summit in London, UK, it is not just the G8 countries, but all nations, that must commit to a sustained increase in dementia research”.

The report warns that most governments are unprepared for the dementia epidemic with only 13 countries currently implementing a national dementia plan. The report calls for collaborative, global action plan for governments, industry and non-profit organisations. It also states that research must become a global priority in order to improve the quality and coverage of care, find treatments that alter the course of the disease and identify more options for prevention. Priority should be equally given to policy-making, health and social care service and health system development.

The report entitled ‘The Global Impact of Dementia 2013-2050’ is available here. It was researched and authored by Prof Martin Prince, Dr Matthew Prina and Dr Maelenn Guerchet on behalf of the Global Observatory for Ageing and Dementia Care, hosted at the Health Service and Population Research Department, King’s College London, and supported by Alzheimer’s Disease International, and King’s College London. 

For further information, please contact: Seil Collins, Press Officer, King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry. Tel: (+44) 207 848 5377 or email:

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