The Impending Alzheimer’s Boom

Report predicts that 10 million baby boomers could develop Alzheimer’s in their lifetime

Alzheimer's Brain
A PET scan of the brain of a patient with Alzheimer's DiseaseNational Institute of Aging

The Alzheimer's Association released a report yesterday with some frightening estimates regarding the future of the brain-wasting disease. One out of every eight baby boomers are likely to develop Alzheimer's at some point, and the disease is now the seventh deadliest in the country.

By 2010, there will be 500,000 new cases each year. By 2050, that number will jump to a million. This means the costs of caring for these patients are, naturally, going to jump dramatically.

The report suggests that the Medicare burden will jump from $91 billion spent on Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia in 2005 to $189 billion by 2015. Which makes you think that the government is hustling to support researchers in search of a cure, or effective treatment, right? Not exactly. According to the Alzheimer's Association, the government has cut spending on the research. At the same time, other experts suggest that the Association's numbers might be too aggressive.