Estimates put the number of dementia suffers around two billion by the year 2050, according to Yahoo! News. As the baby boomer generation barrels into their senior years, experts believe the number of folks suffering from the illness will likely skyrocket. As a result, world governments are expected to drop a significant amount of money treating these individuals over the next few decades.
The total number of dementia sufferers that are expected to populate the earth in the coming years could become a significant problem in a relatively short amount of time. The World Health Organization (WHO) believes that the influx of individuals living with the illness could result in one of the worst medical disasters in the history of the human race.
According to ABC News, a number of drug companies are walking away from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease research due to an overall lack of results and the increasing cost of such work. Of course, with the number of dementia cases expected to swell in the next few decades, this isn’t the sort of news officials like to hear.
Henry Brodaty, professor of psychogeriatrics at the University of New South Wales, explained that the amount of money spent on dementia is astronomical. “Globally, dementia costs $600 billion a year, and if it were a country it would be the world’s 18th largest economy,” he explained. “If it were a company, it would be the biggest.”
Drug trial failures have prompted many drug manufacturers to wonder if all of this research is ultimately worth the overall cost. Although much has been learned about the disease through scientific research, finding a solution to the problem has yet to happen.
“There are no disease-modifying drugs and that’s where the whole field has been trying to find that Holy Grail,” Professor Brodaty explained. “Can we find a drug that can stop the disease? So far we have failed, and maybe earlier is better, that once the iceberg surfaces above the water it may be too late.”
Although dementia suffers are expected to total around two billion by 2050, current research that suggests Alzheimer’s is a form of diabetes could eventually help families and loved ones who are preparing for the struggle ahead.