The study shows that global dementia cases can triple by 2050 if risk factors are not addressed

The study shows that global dementia cases can triple by 2050 if risk factors are not addressed

Washington [US]January 9 (ANI): According to a new study, the number of adults, 40 years or older, living with dementia worldwide is expected to almost triple, from an estimated 57 million in 2019 to 153 million in 2050.

The research has been published in ‘The Lancet Public Health’.

The study also looked at four risk factors for dementia – smoking, obesity, high blood sugar and low education – and highlighted the impact they will have on future trends. For example, improvements in access to global education are expected to reduce the incidence of dementia by 62 million cases worldwide by 2050. But this will be offset by expected trends in obesity, high blood sugar and smoking, which are expected to result in a further 68 million dementia cases.

The authors highlighted the urgent need to roll out locally tailored initiatives that reduced risk factor exposure, along with research to discover effective disease-modifying treatments and new modifiable risk factors to reduce future disease burden.

“Our study offers improved prognosis for dementia at the global as well as the national level, giving policymakers and public health experts new insights into understanding the drivers behind these increases, based on the best available data,” said lead author Emma Nichols of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation ( IHME) at the University of Washington, USA.

“These estimates can be used by national governments to ensure that resources and support are available to individuals, caregivers and health systems globally,” she added.

She continued, “At the same time, we need to focus more on the prevention and control of risk factors before they result in dementia. Even modest progress in preventing dementia or delaying its development would pay off handsomely. To have the greatest effect, we need to reduce exposure. for most leading risk factors in each country, for most, this means scaling up locally appropriate, low-cost programs that support healthier diets, more exercise, quitting smoking and better access to education, and it also means continuing to invest in research to identify effective treatments to stop, slow down or prevent dementia. ” Dementia is currently the seventh most common cause of death in the world and one of the leading causes of disability and dependence among older people globally – with global costs in 2019 estimated at more than $ 1 trillion. Although dementia mainly affects older people, it is not an inevitable consequence of aging.

A Lancet Commission published in 2020 suggested that up to 40 percent of dementia cases could be prevented or delayed if exposure to 12 known risk factors were eliminated – low education, high blood pressure, hearing loss, smoking, mid-life obesity, depression, physical inactivity, diabetes, social isolation, excessive alcohol consumption, head injuries and air pollution.

The study predicted that the largest increase in prevalence will occur in sub-Saharan Africa, where the number of people living with dementia is expected to rise by 357 percent, from almost 660,000 in 2019 to more than 3 million in 2050, mainly driven by population growth – with Djibouti (473 percent), Ethiopia (443 percent) and South Sudan (396 percent) see the largest increases.

Similarly, in North Africa and the Middle East, cases are forecast to grow by 367 percent, from almost 3 million to almost 14 million, with particularly large increases in Qatar (1926 percent), the United Arab Emirates (1795 percent) and Bahrain (1084 percent).

However, the smallest increase in the number of high-income dementia cases in Asia and the Pacific is expected, where the number of cases is expected to grow by 53 percent, from 48 million in 2019 to 74 million in 2050 – with a particularly small increase in Japan (27 percent). In this region, the risk of dementia for each age group is expected to decrease, indicating that preventive measures, including improvements in education and healthy lifestyles, have an effect.

Similarly, in Western Europe, the number of dementia cases is expected to increase by 74 percent, from almost 8 million in 2019 to almost 14 million in 2050. Relatively small increases in cases are expected in Greece (45 percent), Italy (56 percent), Finland (58 percent ), Sweden (62 percent) and Germany (65 percent). In the UK, the number of dementia cases is estimated to increase by 75 percent, from just over 907,000 in 2019 to almost 16 million in 2050.

Globally, more women suffer from dementia than men. In 2019, women with dementia were more than men with dementia 100 to 69. And this pattern is expected to remain in 2050.

“It’s not just because women tend to live longer,” says co-author Dr. Jaimie Steinmetz of IHME, University of Washington, USA.

“There is evidence of gender differences in the biological mechanisms behind dementia. It has been suggested that Alzheimer’s disease may spread differently in women’s brains than in men, and several genetic risk factors appear to be related to the risk of disease through sex,” Steinmetz added.

According to co-author Professor Theo Vos of IHME, University of Washington, USA, “especially low- and middle-income countries should implement national policies now that can mitigate dementia risk factors for the future, such as prioritizing education and health To ensure structural inequalities in access to health care can be addressed and that the services can also be adapted to the unprecedented needs of a growing elderly population with complex care needs will require significant planning at both local and national level. ” The authors acknowledged that their analysis was limited by the lack of high-quality data in several parts of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe and Central America, and by studies using different methods and definitions of dementia. They also noted that they could not consider all 12 risk factors from the 2020 Lancet Commission report because they were limited to risk factors included in the GBD study and only included risk factors with strong evidence of association.

However, including additional risk factors would not necessarily have led to a change in the projected prevalence, unless changes in the exposure to a given risk factor were also expected. Finally, they noted that the study examined the overall prevalence of dementia, and it is possible that clinical subtypes, such as vascular dementia, may have different associations with risk factors, which may affect the results.

Dr Michael Schwarzinger and Dr Carole Dufouil, Bordeaux University Hospital in France (who were not involved in the study) wrote in a linked comment, “In our opinion, the authors’ efforts to build on GBD 2019 are still to simplify the underlying mechanisms that cause dementia [they] provide apocalyptic projections that do not take into account advisable lifestyle changes throughout life. There is a great and urgent need to strengthen a public health strategy against dementia in order to better inform people and decision-makers about appropriate ways to delay or avoid these horrific prognoses. “(ANI)


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