Sep 21, 2009 8:54 AM by Associated Press
A new report suggests more than 35 million people around the world are living with Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia. The World Alzheimer Report is the most in-depth attempt yet to assess the brain-destroying illness -- and it's an ominous forecast as the population grays.
The new count is about 10 percent higher than what scientists had predicted just a few years ago, because earlier research underestimated Alzheimer's growing impact in developing countries. Barring a medical breakthrough, the report projects dementia will nearly double every 20 years. The report concludes that by 2050, it will affect a staggering 115.4 million people.
While age is the biggest driver of Alzheimer's, some of the same factors that trigger heart disease -- obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes -- seem to increase the risk of dementia, too. Those are problems also on the rise in many developing countries. The report was released by Alzheimer's Disease International.