The number of those hit by the debilitating Alzheimers across the globe would quadruple by 2050, and the biggest jump is projected for Asia. At the moment the continent has almost half of todays Alzheimers patients, at 12.6 million.
By 2050, the region will have 62.8 million of the world's 106 million Alzheimer's, researchers at Johns Hopkins University say.
When the worlds Alzheiemer population explodes, from 26 million now, one in 85 people will have the brain-destroying disease, it is pointed out.
The new estimates, being presented Sunday at an Alzheimer's Association conference in Washington, are not very different from previous projections of the looming global dementia epidemic with the graying of the world's population.
But they serve as a sobering reminder of the toll to come if scientists cannot find better ways to battle Alzheimer's and protect aging brains.
"If we can make even modest advances in preventing Alzheimer's disease, or delay its progression, we could have a huge global public health impact," said Johns Hopkins public health specialist Ron Brookmeyer, who led the new study.
A recent U.S. study estimated that this nation's Alzheimer's toll will reach 16 million by 2050, compared with more than 5 million today. The new estimate is significantly lower, suggesting only 3.1 million North American cases today and 8.8 million by 2050.
Among the estimates for other regions are:
Africa, 1.3 million today and 6.3 million in 2050.
Europe, 7.2 million and 16.5 million.
Latin America and the Caribbean, 2 million and 10.8 million.
Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, and various islands of the Malay Archipelago) 200,00 and 800,000.
Meantime researchers say that they have discovered a new gene linked with late-onset Alzheimer's disease.
People with a damaged copy of the gene, GAB2, may be at four times increasePage: 1 2 Related medicine news :1
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