September 21st marks World Alzheimer’s Day and Alzheimer Disease International (ADI) is marking the occasion by releasing their 2010 World Alzheimer Report.  According to the report, the total cost of Alzheimer and other forms  of dementia  exceed 1% of global GDP in 2010, totaling about USD $604 billion.  In comparative terms, “[i]f dementia care were a country, it would be the world’s 18th largest economy. If it were a company, it would be the world’s largest by annual revenue exceeding Wal-Mart (US$414 billion) and Exxon Mobil (US$311 billion)”.

Alzheimer’s Disease has traditionally been seen as a developed-country issue, with rich nations accounting for 89% of the costs.  Nevertheless, ADI’s report does highlight that the disease is a growing issue in developing communities and expects that developing nations see an increase in costs associated with the disease as older people in those nations live longer.  In fact, the report predicts that “[t]he number of people with dementia will double by 2030, and more than triple by 2050”.

The report concludes by calling for Alzheimer’s and dementia-care to become national health priorities, for governments and other funders to increase research funding,  and for the the development of national policies to address the challenges caused by the disease.  “The care of people with dementia is not just a health issue – it is a massive social issue”, says one of the report co-writers.

For more information on the report, or its findings on specific countries, visit:

ADI News Release

CTV Canada

Sify News India

CNN Health U.S.A.

BBC News Britain

La Repubblica Italy (in Italian)

Le Vif Belgium (in French)