A computer model of dementia prevalence in Australia: foreseeing outcomes of delaying dementia onset, slowing disease progression, and eradicating dementia types

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2010;29(2):123-30. doi: 10.1159/000272436. Epub 2010 Feb 10.


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Methods: The study implemented 3 scenarios: delaying dementia onset, slowing disease progression and, in a previously unpublished experiment, eradicating dementia types.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.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Computer Simulation
  • Dementia / epidemiology*
  • Dementia / prevention & control
  • Dementia / therapy
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Population
  • Software
  • Treatment Outcome