Background: A computer model was designed to test hypothetical scenarios regarding dementia prevalence in Australia (2001-2040).
Methods: The study implemented 3 scenarios: delaying dementia onset, slowing disease progression and, in a previously unpublished experiment, eradicating dementia types. Sensitivity analysis and parameter variation were the main methods of experimentation.
Results: The model predicts that delaying dementia onset by 5 years will reduce the 2040 prevalence by 37%. An onset delay of 2 years, introduced in 2010, will reduce the 2040 prevalence by 16%. Slowing disease progression increases the 2040 prevalence by 4-7%. Total eradication of Alzheimer's disease (currently approximately 50% of all dementia cases) in 2020 will decrease the 2040 prevalence by 42%.
Conclusion: Computer modeling of future scenarios and interventions helps health and aged care planners understand the likely challenges society will face with the ageing of the world's population.