A report out this morning calls Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia an epidemic and the financial burden is nothing short of crushing.
The costs associated will total well over $600 billion this year – one percent of the World’s gross domestic product. By 2030, those costs are projected to increase by 85 percent. Harry Johns, President & CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, joined Tuesday's American Morning to discuss the implications of the report and the growing difficulties in dealing with this disease.
Harry Johns: It's only going to increase [with] the aging of America and worldwide. Alzheimer's is not normal aging. As I know you realize, John, but it is the biggest risk factor of Alzheimer’s and going to drive the numbers substantially. Today, in America, we have an estimated 5.3 million people with the disease and that's going to go as high as 16 million by the middle of the century if we can't change the course of the disease.
John Roberts: We have had some encouraging news later on the diagnostic front, new tests, spinal taps and analyses to give an indication earlier than ever as to who may develop Alzheimer’s disease. But it's been frustratingly slow in terms of developing any kind of – I don't want to say cure but even treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
Harry Johns: It's true, John. We have seen great progress in science. As you indicated, particularly in the diagnostics, recently. Working together in a collaborative fashion with the national institutes on aging and the industry.
We've made great progress there but we need to see treatments. Today we don't have a treatment to stop or slow the progress of the disease and we have treatments improvements for people's functional lives so we have got to invest more in research to make a difference in that.
In time, for this baby boomer generation that is going to have at least 10 million people have the disease themselves.