Dementia costs to consume 1% of global GDP this year, report finds

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The global cost of dementia in 2010 is expected to exceed 1% of the global gross domestic product, or $604 billion—and the price tag will only get higher, according to a new report.

The report, a joint effort by researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and King's College London in the UK, combines current data from the World Alzheimer Report 2009 with improved data from the 10/66 Dementia Research Group studies in Latin America, India and China. The number of dementia patients is expected to double by 2030 and triple by 2050, researchers found. The cost of care is so massive that, if dementia-care were a country, it would be the world's 18th largest economy—larger than Indonesia, Switzerland or Belgium.

Care costs are also likely to rise faster than the prevalence of dementia, according to report authors. In developing nations, as resources and incomes grow, higher-cost care options will become available.