- The Washington Times - Monday, July 20, 2015

More than 28 million baby boomers will develop Alzheimer’s in their lifetimes, experts predicted in a new analysis. The report, released by the Alzheimer’s Association at its international conference being held this week in Washington, also projects that combating the disease will eventually consume 25 percent of all Medicare spending as the huge baby boomer generation ages.

“The risk of Alzheimer’s increases with age, and as baby boomers get older, the number of people developing the disease will rise to levels far beyond anything we’ve ever seen before,” said Maria Carrillo, chief science officer for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Given current trajectories, the organization expects the prevalence of Alzheimer’s among American baby boomers to rise to 50.1 percent by 2050, when members of the generation enter their late 80s. The Alzheimer’s Association said the new numbers dramatically underscore the need for increased public funding for researching the disease.

“Public funding for this research is extremely limited compared to the magnitude of the problem,” she said.

But Ms. Carrillo remains optimistic that progress can be made if the problem is taken seriously. She noted the notable strides the medical community has made recently with other grave diseases, and hopes Alzheimer’s will receive the same attention.

“Where we’ve made significant commitments — heart disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS — we’ve generated effective treatments and prevention strategies,” she pointed out, adding, “now it’s time to do the same for Alzheimer’s disease.”

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