New publication: The current and future burden of late-onset dementia in the UK: estimates and interventions

A new publication, based on research conducted by OHE, suggests that by 2025 the disability adjusted life year (DALY) burden of dementia will have increased by 42% from the Global Disease Burden (GDB) 2010 estimate.

The risk of developing dementia increases markedly with age, and with the global population – both developed and developing countries – ageing rapidly, dementia has the potential to be a major future health concern.

The new study, published in Alzheimers and Dementia, aimed to estimate the burden of late-onset dementia in the United Kingdom through to 2025, and to quantitatively assess the impact of three potential interventions. The interventions considered, all of which were assumed to commence is 2018, were:

  1. an optimistic limiting case of a 100% preventive intervention with immediate uptake of 100% of the population at risk;
  2. an intervention which delays onset by five years, linear uptake to 50% after five years;
  3. as ii) but uptake 75% after five years.

The authors assume that prevalence is fixed at recent estimates, and measure the burden in DALYs, allowing them to be compared with those in the GDB 2010 estimates (Horton 2012; Murray et al., 2013).

For 2015 the authors estimate a burden of approximately 440K (i.e. 440,000) DALYs. For 2020 and 2025 the numbers are 494K and 551K DALYs respectively. This means that by 2025 the DALY burden will have increased by 42% from the Global Disease Burden (GDB) 2010 estimate of 387K DALYs.

Intervention results:

  1. a 9% decrease by 2025;
  2. a 33% increase; and
  3. a 28% increase.    

The authors conclude that: “At current prevalence rates, the ability of an intervention to offset the projected increase in DALY burden of dementia in the UK by 2025 appears low”.

Dr Matthew Norton, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Currently there is no cure for dementia and with cases of the condition set to rise to over one million in the UK by 2025, it’s one of the greatest social and economic challenges of our time. Although this study shows that even with a new treatment, we may still see a rise in the number of years of life lost to ill health from dementia by 2025, such a treatment could help ease the devastating personal impact the condition has on those diagnosed, their loved ones and carers. The more research is carried out, the better we can understand the diseases underlying dementia and work towards a treatment to slow down or stop their progression. Research is the only way to defeat dementia and ease the personal, social and economic impact of this cruel condition.”

Read the full paper here.

Access related OHE work below:

Lewis, F., 2015. Estimation of Future Cases of Dementia from Those Born in 2015. OHE Consulting Report. London: Office of Health Economics.

Marsden, G. & Mestre-Ferrandiz, J., 2015. Dementia: the R&D Landscape. OHE Research Report. London: Office of Health Economics.

Lewis, F., Karlsberg Schaffer, S., Sussex, J., O’Neill, P. and Cockcroft, L., 2014. The trajectory of dementia in the UK – making a difference. OHE Consulting Report. London: Office of Health Economics.


Horton, R., 2010. GBD 2010: understanding disease, injury, and risk. Lancet, 380, pp. 2053–4.

Murray, C., Richards, M., Newton, J., Fenton, K., Anderson, H., Atkinson, C., et al., 2013. UK health performance: findings of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Lancet, 381, pp. 997–1020.

Posted in Health Statistics, Research | Tagged External publications