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Experts Put Worldwide Cost of Dementia at $315.4 Billion

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Worldwide prevalence of dementia may be much higher than previously thought, costing societies around the globe an estimated $315.4 billion, say scientists attending the Alzheimer's Disease International conference this week in Singapore.

Health-care and social services systems in developed and developing countries are under strain dealing with what the experts said was a "greying of the world." Projections indicate as many as 29.4 million people suffer from Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia, the scientists reported in a news release about the conference issued Thursday. And, worldwide prevalence of dementia may quadruple to almost 120 million people by 2050, they added.

Treating worldwide dementia includes $105 billion for informal care -- non-professional care usually provided by families -- that makes up 37 percent of the total dollars. Seventy-seven percent of dementia treament costs occurred in the world's more developed regions, according to the news release.

"In light of the rapidly growing future prevalence estimates, in particular in less developed regions, the economic impact of dementia is a great challenge for every society," Dr. Anders Wimo, of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the Karolinska Institutet, in Stockholm, said in the news release.

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