A report in the current issue of Neurology used projections to estimate the number of Americans what will be living with Alzheimers by the year 2050. Their calculations predict that 13.8 million Americans will be living with this form of dementia, 7 million of which will be over 85 years of age.
Jennifer Weuve, MPH, ScD Co-author of this report said "This increase is due to an aging baby boom generation. It will place a huge burden on society, disabling more people who develop the disease, challenging their caregivers, and straining medical and social safety nets. Our study draws attention to an urgent need for more research, treatments and preventive strategies to reduce this epidemic."
The study examined data from over 10,000 people from Chicago between the years of 1993 and 2011. Every three years participants were surveyed and factors such as education, race and age were used in the projections.
The conclusion of their study indicated that "The number of people in the United States with AD dementia will increase dramatically in the next 40 years unless preventive measures are developed."
This data dovetails with a recent report by the US Food and Drug Administration. The FDA, today, released a draft guidance document ""Guidance for Industry, Alzheimer's Disease: Developing Drugs for the Treatment of Early Stage Disease."
This new proposal aims to steer researchers and pharmaceutical companies towards focusing on researching and treating early stage Alzheimer's, rather than waiting for patients to have progressed towards sever cognitive impairment.
There have been high profile late stage failures in Alzheimer's drug trials recently coming from two drugs from two companies, bapineuzumab from Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer and solanezumab from Eli Lily.
The FDA guidelines are part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' efforts under the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease. This plan calls for both government and private sector to intensify efforts in treating and preventing Alzheimer's and related dementias.
This comes at a time when the government seems to be divesting in research, cutting research budgets for the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.