The number of dementia sufferers will likely skyrocket in the coming decades, according to a new report from the World Health Organization. Today there are 35.6 million people with dementia, and that number is expected to nearly double to 65.7 million by 2030—and more than triple by 2050. "We need to increase our capacity to detect dementia early and to provide the necessary health and social care," says a WHO official.
The report also estimated it costs $604 billion per year to treat and care for dementia sufferers. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, but other brain illnesses can also cause it, and the report calls for better diagnostic practices and training for healthcare workers. Even in wealthy countries, just 20% to 50% of dementia cases are actually recognized, AFP reports.