The number of people aged 40+ years with dementia could nearly triple worldwide from 57mn in 2019 to 153mn by 2050. This is according to a study of 195 countries funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, published in The Lancet Public Health on 6th January 2022. The projected increase is largely owing to the ageing population and population growth.
However, the study also looks at four risk factors – smoking, obesity, high blood sugar and low education – and highlights their impact on future trends. While improvements in global education access are projected to reduce dementia prevalence by 6.2mn cases by 2050, this will be offset by anticipated trends in obesity, high blood sugar and smoking, which are expected to result in an additional 6.8mn cases.
Nicholas Hall’s Touchpoints: This study was conducted by the University of Washington, and to quote the lead author, Emma Nichols: “We need to focus more on prevention and control of risk factors before they result in dementia. Even modest advances in preventing dementia or delaying its progression would pay remarkable dividends. To have the greatest impact, we need to reduce exposure to the leading risk factors. For most, this means scaling up locally-appropriate, low-cost programmes that support healthier diets, more exercise, quitting smoking and better access to education.”
Is there a role for consumer healthcare here? I believe there is! Not least, it is noticeable that herbal products sold for memory & brain health have been growing consistently during the past five years, with a spike in demand in 2020. Taking all channels of distribution into account, this category is valued at over a billion dollars, with the USA accounting for about 50% of sales. In Prevagen, it has produced a mega-brand, which is why both Reckitt and P&G have entered the fray. At a time of continuing interest in M&A, it’s encouraging to see that there are a number of CHC categories delivering substantial organic growth.
Herbal memory and brain health supplements will be reviewed in our forthcoming report, Herbals & Naturals, which will track the leading H&N marketers, highlight developments, sales and success strategies. To pre-order your copy and save up to GB£2,100, or for further information, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.