The immigrant in Spain who tried to auction her virginity to fund
the care of her Alzheimer's-stricken mother. The caregiver in Japan who
gives respectful "last baths" to the dying elderly. The Florida doctor
arrested for operating on an aging patient seven times for nonexistent
skin cancer. In 20 years, there will be 1 billion people over the age
of 65, and China Inc.'s Ted Fishman has found the current
examples that, along with an inexhaustible supply of demographic
trends, illustrate the knotty — and at times terrifying — issues of
global aging that await us.
Ah, the 1950s. The war was won, populations were populating, and
babies boomed. But six decades later, a new specter haunts Europe and
North America: age. In America, more than 5 million baby boomers suffer
from Alzheimer's, costing the nation $172 billion annually and
siphoning productivity from 10.9 million unpaid caregivers. And cases
of age-related neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's,
Parkinson's, and stroke are expected to spike.
Genetics, this is your mainstream moment! So says conference founder
and biotech entrepreneur John Boyce, who points to the rapid drop in
DNA-sequencing costs and growing interest in genomicsfrom consumer-goods manufacturers. Boyce says this inaugural show will
focus on "the intersection of genetics and the consumer front." Expect
to see reps from P&G, Unilever, and insurance companies mingling
with researchers including ex — Human Genome Project chief Francis
Collins and Alzheimer's-focused neurologist Robert C. Green.