LONDON, January 25 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time ever, Alzheimer's disease is a focus at the World Economic Forum. Today more than 35 million people worldwide have dementia and those numbers will double every 20 years to 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050, according to the World Alzheimer's Report from Alzheimer's disease International (ADI), a London-based, nonprofit, international federation of 71 national Alzheimer organizations.

The rapid increase in Alzheimer's disease creates a significant economic, social and personal burden, yet we are just beginning to mobilize around this condition said Dr. Robert N. Butler, moderator of the Davos panel and CEO and President, International Longevity Center. Today's meeting of government, corporate and civil society representatives is an important step in driving urgency to act.

Unchecked, dementia and Alzheimer's will impose enormous burdens on individuals, families, health care infrastructures, industry and the worldwide economy, explained Wortman. There is hope in taking action to support research for better treatments and to fund and improve dementia care. We need to raise awareness that available treatment, care and support, even today, can make a difference.

Alzheimer's presents a challenge on the scale of HIV/AIDS, an area in which we can take lessons from the global community approach. We have the opportunity today to find partners who will work across sectors, industries and borders to give a voice to people who suffer from Alzheimer's and to accelerate progress in curbing its devastating effects, said Olivier Brandicourt, another panellist and President and General Manager of Pfizer's Primary Care Business Unit.

Countries that lead in developing frameworks for addressing Alzheimer's include Australia, England, South Korea, Norway, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and Sweden.

Increase in Prevalence Driven By Low and Middle Income Countries

According to the 2009 World Alzheimer's Report, much of the increase prevalence of dementia is attributable to increases in people with dementia in low and middle income countries. The researchers found that currently 57.7% of all people with dementia worldwide live in low and middle income countries, which is projected to rise to 70.5% by 2050.

Growth in dementia over the next 20 years will be much steeper in low and middle compared with high income countries. The report forecasts a 40% increase in numbers in Europe, 63% in North America, 77% in the southern Latin American cone and 89% in the developed Asia Pacific countries. These figures are to be compared with 117% growth in East Asia, 107% in South Asia, 134-146% in the rest of Latin America, and 125% in North Africa and the Middle East.

Worldwide, the economic cost of dementia has been estimated as US$315 billion annually. The total annual costs per person with dementia have been estimated as US$1,521 in a low income country, rising to US$4,588 in middle income countries, and US$17,964 in high income countries. (Anders Wimo, et al. An Estimate of the Total Worldwide Societal Costs of Dementia in 2005. Alzheimer's Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association. Volume 3, Issue 2, April 2007.)

About Alzheimer's disease and Dementia

Dementia is a syndrome due to brain disease. It is usually chronic, and is characterized by a progressive, global deterioration in intellectual abilities, including memory, learning, orientation, language, comprehension, and judgment. Alzheimer's disease, in particular, is progressive and fatal. Dementia mainly affects older people, especially those over age 65. Dementia is one of the major causes of disability in late-life and is linked to a large number of underlying brain diseases. Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia; vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and frontotemporal dementia are the next most common.

Alzheimer 's Disease International

Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) is an international federation of 71 Alzheimer associations around the world, in official relations with the World Health Organization. Each member is the national Alzheimer association in their country that supports people with dementia and their families. ADI's mission is to improve the quality of life of people with dementia and their families throughout the world. Please visit

Alzheimer's Disease International 64 Great Suffolk Street London SE1 0BL T: +44-207-981-0880 F: +44-207-928-2357

CONTACT: Marc Wortmann, Executive Director, Alzheimer's Disease International, Tel: +44-20-7981-0880

SOURCE: Alzheimer's Disease International

CONTACT: Alzheimers Disease International: 64 Great Suffolk Street,London SE1 0BL, T: +44-207-981-0880, F: +44-207-928-2357,,; CONTACT: Marc Wortmann, ExecutiveDirector, Alzheimers Disease International, Tel: +44-20-7981-0880