From the WUSTL Newsroom…
By the year 2050, the number of Chinese citizens over the age of 65 is expected to reach 329 million. About 120 million of those people will be over age 80, with some 20 percent suffering from dementia. If life expectancies continue to rise as expected, Alzheimer’s disease could be not only one of the most prevalent diseases in China, but also the costliest, according to medical researchers.
With sobering statistics like these in mind, Washington University in St. Louis and its partner universities in Greater China came together for a major conference, the “Forum for Greater China: An Aging Population.” The goal of the conference, held Jan. 21 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Shanghai, was to stimulate collaborative research and conversation that will advance solutions to the challenges posed by China’s aging population.
“The Forum for Greater China provided us with the opportunity to address with our leading Chinese university partners one of the great social challenges of the 21st century,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said. “We are committed not only to continuing the critical conversation that was begun here, but also to working toward real-world solutions to these issues through our scholarship and research.”
Two Washington University researchers, David Holtzman, MD, a leading global expert on Alzheimer’s disease and related neurological diseases; and Nancy Morrow-Howell, a leading global expert on civic and social engagement later in life, provided the keynote speeches at the forum. Mark Taylor, dean of Olin Business School, provided the opening remarks for the evening gala, expressing his school’s continued commitment to expanding global engagement and collaboration.
“It was very exciting to be part of such an informed discussion with scholars from our partner universities,” said Morrow-Howell, the Bettie Bofinger Brown Distinguished Professor of Social Policy at the Brown School. “It was so interesting to discover the cultural and sociopolitical variations in approaches to our common challenges as we discussed economic security, health and long-term care, and social engagement.”
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