Dementia cases are expected to triple in the world by 2050

This is the most comprehensive international observation and modeling study to date

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Greece will be one of the countries with the smallest expected increase in dementia cases in the future, by "only" 45% by 2050, while globally the number of dementia cases in people over 40 is expected to triple, from 57 million in 2019 to 153 million in 2050, according to a new major international scientific study. The increase in the world's population and its gradual aging - that is, the increase in the proportion of older people as a whole - largely explain this development.

The researchers, led by Dr. Emma Nichols of the Institute for Health Measurement and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA, published their findings in the public health journal The Lancet Public Health. . This is the most comprehensive international observation and modeling study to date (funded by the Melina and Bill Gates Foundation), which links dementia to four major risk factors: smoking, obesity, high blood sugar, and low levels of education.

The incidence of dementia is estimated to increase by the middle of the century in all countries of the world, with the lowest percentage increase expected in the developed countries of Asia-Pacific (53%) and Western Europe (74%), while the largest in North Africa - Middle East (367%) and in eastern Sub-Saharan Africa (357%).

The five countries with the lowest increase in dementia cases between 2019-2050 are estimated to be: Japan (27%), Bulgaria (37%), Serbia (38%), Lithuania (44%) and Greece ( 45%).

Greece, according to the study, had in 2019 about 206.000 cases of dementia (possible range 174.643 to 240.487), while in 2050 it is expected to have around 299.000 (range 237.117-371.264), which means an estimated increase of 45% ( with a possible range from a minimum of 24% to a maximum of 67%). By comparison, the increase in dementia cases in the period 2019-2050 is estimated at 56% in Italy, 65% in Germany, 75% in Britain and Portugal, 82% in France, 83% in Spain, 100% in the USA, 145% in Israel, 175% in Cyprus and 277% in Turkey.

The five countries with the largest increase are expected to be all Arab: Qatar (1.926%), United Arab Emirates (1.795%), Bahrain (1.084%), Oman (943%) and Saudi Arabia (898%).

Dementia - predominantly Alzheimer's disease - is now the seventh leading cause of death worldwide and one of the leading causes of disability, mobility and dependence of the elderly on other people. Experts estimate that up to 40% of dementia cases could be prevented or even slowed by addressing 12 risk factors: low education, hypertension, hearing loss, smoking, obesity in middle age, depression, physical inactivity, social isolation, excessive alcohol consumption, head injuries and air pollution.

If access to education improves, it is estimated that there will be 6,2 million fewer cases of dementia by 2050. On the other hand, this reduction could be offset (by 6,8 million more cases of dementia) by a future increase in obesity , high blood sugar and smoking.

As Dr. Nichols points out, “we need to focus more on preventing and controlling risk factors before they lead to dementia. "For most countries, this means programs that support healthier eating, more exercise, smoking cessation and better access to education."

Globally, more women today suffer from dementia than men (at a rate of 100-69), which is expected to continue until 2050. This is partly due to the fact that women live longer and partly due to gender differences in underlying biological mechanisms of dementia.

Source: RES-EAP