Higher risk of Alzheimer’s Disease with India’s fast ageing population

Bangalore, September 20, 2017: According to the India Ageing Report 2017, the elderly population in India is growing at 3% annually, a faster rate of growth than other age categories. This shift in population age structure means that the burden of Alzheimer’s in India is set to increase given that the disease primarily occurs in patients over the age of 65 years.

“Alzheimer’s carries with it significant economic and social costs. Asour country and the global population ages, the burden of Alzheimer’s diseasewill continue to increase and put additional pressures on the limited resourcesavailable to tackle the situation. Women are expected to bear the worst of theimpact in India, as elderly women in the country experience higher lifeexpectancies than their male counterparts, while also encountering neglect asthey age. A 2016 Lancet study on healthy life expectancy revealed that whilewomen in India have a higher overall life expectancy than men, women also spendmore years in ill health and disability than men,” said Dr Chirag Trivedi,President of ISCR. “We need to intensify clinical research efforts to look fora cure for Alzheimer’s.” There has been no US FDA approved drug for Alzheimer’ssince 2003 and although there are several trials currently underway, a cure isstill many years away.

Every year, September 21 is marked around the globe as World Alzheimer’sDay. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease thataffects cognitive functioning, and in its worst forms, can severely interferewith day-to-day living. It is the most common form of dementia in the elderlyand accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. There is no cure forAlzheimer’s and currently available therapies cannot stop memory loss, however,getting treatment in time can slow down the progression of the disease.Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of ageing, therefore, it is important to beaware of the warning signs and initiate treatment at the earliest possible asthe condition keeps deteriorating with time.

Census data indicates that about 71% of India’s elderly reside in ruralregions, with the exceptions of Goa and Mizoram. States ranking lower on theeconomic ladder, such as Odisha, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have a largerpercentage of the rural elderly. These areas are hard to reach, with poor roadand logistical access. As a result, the ageing population in these areas lacksufficient access to quality care.

“Most of our elderly live in areas which are hard to reach, makingaccess to care and monitoring extremely complicated. We also lack specific anddetailed data pertaining to these populations, which would otherwise help usdevise ways to care for them and make their daily lives and the lives of theirfamily members easier. Research logically emerges as the only way to confrontthese challenges we face – the more we know, the more we can do,” added Dr.Trivedi.


GBD DALYs and HALE Collaborators. Global, regional, and nationaldisability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for 333 diseases and injuries andhealthy life expectancy (HALE) for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2016: asystematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. The Lancet. 14Sept 2017: 390;1260-344.

About ISCR

The Indian Society for Clinical Research (ISCR) is an association ofclinical research professionals that aims to build awareness of clinicalresearch as a specialty in India and to facilitate its growth in the countrywhile helping to evolve the highest standards of quality and ethics. To thatextent, we are fully supportive of the initiatives undertaken by regulatoryauthorities to create a more robust and regulated environment in India for theconduct of clinical research and will continue to work very closely withdifferent stakeholders in the development of regulations that will safeguardand protect patients in a clinical trial. For more information, visitwww.iscr.org 

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