The world of dementia beyond 2020
Counterpoised against dire projections of the tripling of the prevalence of dementia over the next 40 years are major developments in diagnostic biomarkers, neuroimaging, the molecular biology of Alzheimer's disease (AD), epidemiology of risk and protective factors, and drug treatments-mainly targeting the amyloid pathway, tau protein, and immunotherapy-that may have the potential to modify the progression of AD. Drug combinations and presymptomatic treatments are also being investigated. Previous trials of dementia-modifying drugs have not shown benefit, and even if current Phase III trials prove successful, these drugs will not eradicate other dementias, could (if not curative) increase dementia duration and prevalence, and are unlikely to come onto the market before 2020. In the meantime, delaying the onset of dementia by even 2 years would have significant economic and societal effects. This article provides an overview of current achievements and potentials of basic and clinical research that might affect the development of dementia prevalence and care within the near future.