Professor of Epidemiological Psychiatry, co-director, Centre for Global Mental Health, King’s College, London, Dr Martin Prince expressed his concern over the rampant increase in the cases of dementia across the globe and the quality of health care meted out to them.
Speaking after inaugurating the two-day ‘20th Annual National Conference – Cognitive Aging: Practice to Policy’ organised by the Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI), Mysuru, at All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH) on Saturday, Dr Martin shed light on the global prevalence, incidence and costs of dementia.
Referring to the World Alzheimer Report 2015, Dr Martin said there were over 9.9 million new cases of dementia reported each year worldwide, implying one new case every 3.2 seconds which is almost 30 percent higher than the annual number of new cases reported in 2010 – 2012. “The number is bound to increase multiple times by 2050 with the number of older people increasing by 56 percent in high income countries, 138 percent in upper middle income countries, 185 percent in lower middle income countries and 239 percent in low income countries,” he said, adding that there were almost 900 million people aged 60 years and over living worldwide in 2015.
Dr Martin pointed that people with dementia were estimated to be at 46.8 million worldwide in 2015 which he said will almost double every 20 years, reaching 74.7 million in 2030 and 131.5 million in 2050. “Much of the increase will take place in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs). Fifty Eight percent of all people with dementia live in LMICs which is further estimated to increase to 63 percent in 2030 and 68 percent in 2050.
To reduce the number significantly, Dr Martin said that cases must be detected at the early stage and care must be given to the patients. He also stressed the need for public health approach to treatment and care besides giving priority to research. “Dementia risk reduction should be an explicit priority,” he said.
Echoing the same sentiments, Chairperson, Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India, Dr Meera Pattabhiraman pointed that only 10 percent of total 4.6 million dementia cases were diagnosed. She felt the need for long and short term awareness programmes and researches to reduce the risk of dementia.
On the occasion, an exclusive Dementia Helpline – 9590316416 was launched. Vice President, Alzheimer’s Disease International, United Kingdom, Dr Jacob Roy; Chairman, ARDSI, Mysuru chapter, Dr Hanumanthachar Joshi; Director, Mysore Medical College and Research Centre, Dr B Krishnamurthy and Director, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Dr S R Savithri were present.