The burden of dementia in developing countries is certain to increase and a new research programme is trying to help carers to cope. As the world population increases, so does the incidence of chronic disease - including dementia. It is hard enough coping with dementia in the West, where the condition has been common for many years. Imagine trying to cope in a developing country, where there are few - if any - support systems for the affected family.
That's why the 10/66 Dementia Research Group, funded by the World Health Organisation, and led by doctors in India and the UK, is trying to raise awareness of the issues around dementia in developing countries. It's called the 10/66 group because less than 10 per cent of population-based research is directed towards two thirds of the global population (in other words, most research is done on people in the affluent West).
AdvertisementThe Group has found that people with dementia are well-cared for by their families, but there are high rates of depression among carers. Where there are a lot of people living at home the strain of caring is less, because it's shared. Public healthcare systems don't really take account of dementia - because it's been relatively uncommon till recently - and private care is expensive.
The Group has already trained 120 researchers and clinicians in 26 countries in dementia care. The next stage is to learn more about risk factors for dementia around the world. After all, lifestyle, environment and genetics could have a big impact on dementia but we know little about these factors in places other than America and Europe.