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  • Writer's pictureMonica Giudice

Why Alzheimer’s disease is a growing problem?

Updated: Nov 22, 2021

The world’s population is aging rapidly. So much so that, according to a United Nations’ publication, [1] the number of people aged 65 or over is expected to double between 2020 and 2050. Or to put it another way, by the middle of this century one in six people will be aged over 65.

That rapidly aging population potentially puts a strain not only on resources but also on society as a whole. The UN commentary singles out poverty, equality and health as key areas of concern. And when it comes to health, one condition which will be of great concern in an aging population is Alzheimer’s disease.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, in 2019 over 850,000 people in the UK had dementia; with Alzheimer’s accounting for between 50% and 75% of that total (depending on whether or not it occurs in tandem with vascular dementia). [2]

And whilst it is true that Alzheimer’s can affect younger individuals, some 95% of cases are diagnosed in individuals aged over 65. [3] Providing care for those individuals currently costs the UK £34.7 billion, with the majority of the cost falling on those affected and their families. [4]

It’s easy to see therefore, why the prevalence of Alzheimer’s within an aging population is of concern not only to individuals and their families but also to society as a whole. And whilst there is no cure, early identification can help to slow the progress of the disease; enabling people to live more independent lives for longer.

Current approaches have been taken to manage or mitigate the impact of Alzheimer’s ; from lifestyle and exercise, to diet and vascular health. Interestingly, these approaches largely mirror those taken to treat or reduce the impact of diabetes. Indeed, Alzheimer’s has been called ‘Type 3 diabetes’ by some researchers in recent times, due to a number of studies identifying a possible link between brain insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s. [5]

But the success of any approach which looks to modify current behaviours does depend on the disease being identified as early as possible. That’s why the Alzheimer’s Disease screening device currently in Occuity’s product pipeline could make such a difference. By screening for marker plaques within the lens of the eye, the non-invasive Occuity device could help to identify Alzheimer’s Disease at an early stage. For the growing population of over 65s, this in turn could provide the early warning signal that they need in order to start mitigating the effect of Alzheimer’s through lifestyle changes.






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