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(NECN: Leslie Gaydos) - More than 35 million people around the world are living with Alzheimer's or other types of dementia, according to a new study by Alzheimer's Disease International, a nonprofit federation of more than 70 national groups. The numbers are much higher than previous assessments, as earlier research underestimated Alzheimer's growing impact in developing countries. This study projects dimentia will nearly double every 20 years, affecting more than 115 million people by 2050. Rudy Tanzia is the Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard MGH. "This is really an issue of awareness and detection of the disease, which we've known for a long time in this country that this is a very prevalent disease that this is an epidemic in the making if not already an epidemic, but we are now seeing that this is being realized at the global scale," Tanzia said. There is no currently known cure for Alzheimer's, which gradually robs people of their memories and ability to care for themselves. The report recommends that the World Health Organization declares dementia a health priority and that could mean more money for research in the future. "Our best chance for curing this disease is to prevent it before it strikes," Tanzia said. "That means we need to predict early, detect the early warning signs and prevent this disease even before it takes root and that's what we are doing in our research around the country and around the world." Alzheimer's researchers receive about $400 million per year -- a tenth of the federal funding that is spent on cancer and AIDS research.