Dementia cases ‘will treble over 30 years’, warn experts

The number with the condition worldwide will treble from 57 million in 2019, research published in The Lancet Public Health journal shows. In the UK, the figure is expected to rise by 75 per cent from 907,000 to 1.6 million.

Lead author Emma Nichols, of the University of Washington, USA, said: “We need to focus more on prevention and control of risk factors.

“Even modest advances in preventing dementia or delaying its progression would pay remarkable dividends.”

Cases will largely be fuelled by population growth and ageing. But trends in obesity, high blood sugar and smoking are due to cause 6.8 million cases, she added.

The largest increases are expected in north Africa and the Middle East (rising 367 per cent) and eastern sub-Saharan Africa (357 per cent).

Previous studies have suggested that up to 40 per cent of cases could be prevented or delayed if 12 key risk factors – also including social isolation, high blood pressure, air pollution, alcohol abuse, hearing impairment, depression and diabetes – were eliminated.

Hilary Evans, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said “the same bold, coordinated and ambitious action” used against Covid must be deployed against dementia worldwide.

And Prof Bart De Strooper, of the UK Dementia Research Institute, said: “Whilst stacking the odds in your favour with lifestyle choices is advisable, we urgently need more research to find cures.”

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