Improving economic conditions and some success in fighting heart disease and HIV mean that more people live longer lives — a good thing, but also a driver of global dementia rates, according to a study by Alzheimer’s Disease International, a consortium of research and advocacy organizations. “Population aging is the main driver of projected increases,” says “The Global Impact of Dementia 2013–2050” (http://tinyurl.com/study-dementia).

About 135 million people worldwide will suffer from dementia in 2050, a substantial increase from a projection in 2009 of 115 million. The updated projection results partly from more sources of data. “Since 2009, the global estimate base has expanded, most particularly with a new systemic review of the prevalence of dementia in China comprising 75 studies, most published in Chinese language journals, and with seven studies from five sub-Saharan African countries, where previously only one study from Nigeria had been available.”

People with dementia worldwide (2010–2050)

Source: Alzheimer’s Disease International, “The Global Impact of Dementia 2013–2050.”