Vienna, July 13, 2009 – The number of people with Alzheimer’s and dementia – both new cases and total numbers with the disease – continues to rise among the very oldest segments of the population in contradiction of the conventional wisdom, according to research reported today at the Alzheimer’s Association 2009 International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease (ICAD 2009) in Vienna.
Previous epidemiological studies have suggested that the number of people with Alzheimer’s and dementia begins to level off and perhaps even go down a bit in people age 90 and above, known as the “oldest old.” This is the fastest growing segment of the population in western countries.
“The number of people affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia is growing at an epidemic pace, and the skyrocketing financial and personal costs will devastate the world’s economies and healthcare systems, and far too many families,” said William Thies, Ph.D., Chief Medical & Scientific Officer at the Alzheimer’s Association. “We must make the fight against Alzheimer’s a priority before it’s too late.”
“However there is hope. There are many drugs in late stage clinical trials for Alzheimer’s that show promise to slow or stop the progression of the disease. This, combined with advancements in early detection, has the potential to change the landscape of Alzheimer’s in our lifetimes. But we need more funding for research to see these possibilities through to completion,” Thies said.
The research reported at ICAD 2009 includes a study of more than 2,100 individuals age 80 years or older in eight municipalities of Varese province, Italy, and a systematic review and collaborative analysis of studies reporting the prevalence of dementia in Europe.
– Ugo Lucca, et al – Risk of dementia continues to rise in the oldest old: The Monzino 80-plus Study.
– Emma Reynish, et al – Systematic Review and Collaborative Analysis of the Prevalence of Dementia in Europe.
For more information, visit: http://www.alz.org