(Laura Oliver/ BBC) — Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2015, 75-year-old Brenda Whittle still enjoys jigsaws, sewing and dancing. New activities are less appealing, but participating in Alzheimer’s research and drug trials is an exception. She’s so at ease with loud brain scans, she even falls asleep during them.
Brenda is one of more than 50 million people worldwide living with dementia – a catch-all category of diseases affecting memory and brain processing, including Alzheimer’s. That number is rising quickly. Globally, experts estimate that 75 million people will live with dementia by 2030 and 131.5 million by 2050.
Most are women.
In Australia, nearly two-thirds of all dementia-related deaths were women; in the US, two-thirds of those living with the disease are women, too. In some cases, dementia even outstrips more famously ‘female’ diseases: US women over 60 are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as breast cancer. (Breast cancer remains the leading cause of death for UK women aged 35 to 49). (…)