September 11, 2015

The costs associated with dementia are rising.  The monetary losses attributed to dementia are expected to reach $1,000,000,000,000 (that’s one trillion U.S. dollars per anum) within three years. The current human toll is nearly 47,000,000 afflicted: forty-seven million lives stricken with the grief and suffering that is brought on by confusion, memory loss, and reduced capabilities. That doesn’t count their caretakers and loved ones.

The loss of human capital is staggering. These are people, after all: people with skills and expertise and countless gifts lost not only to themselves and their families but to society. There is no way to quantify that, much less what might have been had they not bee stricken.

Virtually all of us know someone whose life has been dramatically affected by Alzheimer’s or Vascular Dementia. The developing world is predicted to see an increase in cases going forward.

From Yahoo Health:

In a report issued on Tuesday, researchers from Alzheimer’s Disease International say about 58 percent of all people with dementia live in developing countries and that by 2050, nearly half of all those with the disease will live in Asia. Numbers are expected to rise with aging populations and as more cases are identified. 

Though some of the causes of dementia are unknown, there has been increasing scientific speculation that the causes may be genetic; others suspect it’s due to pollution, diet, or other environmental factors. Regardless, the global race to cure dementia is intensifying, as we’ve described herehere, here, and here.

The biotech community is making great strides in combatting the disease and we hold great hope that a cure is coming, and soon. But until then the human and financial losses continue to mount. This is a crisis, and one that deserves our full attention.