SHANGHAI & ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) and its partner universities in Greater China will hold a major conference in Shanghai on January 21 on the worldwide challenges arising from China’s aging population.
The Washington University Forum for Greater China will be one of the first meetings of its kind and will be held from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Shanghai. It will convene participants from the leading universities in Greater China which partner with WUSTL on research and academic programming. There will be a media briefing with the primary conference speakers at 11:15 a.m. at the hotel in the Council Room. A light lunch will be served.
The Forum’s goal is to stimulate collaborative research and conversation that will advance solutions to the challenges and identify opportunities for growth. Keynote speakers from WUSTL will lay out the social, economic and medical implications of aging followed by panel discussions with leading Chinese experts from the university, corporate, and government sectors.
Two WUSTL researchers, David Holtzman, MD, PhD, a leading global expert on Alzheimer’s Disease and related neurological diseases, and Nancy Morrow-Howell, PhD, a leading global expert on civic and social engagement later in life, will keynote the Forum.
Panelists will include leaders in their fields from partner universities including Peking University, Tsinghua University, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Fudan University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, National Taiwan University, and the University of Hong Kong. They will be joined by experts from the China Aging Finance Forum and GlaxoSmithKline. The universities represented at the Forum, along with others from around the world, partner through WUSTL’S McDonnell International Scholars Academy to address global challenges such as aging, energy and the environment, food and water, and public health.
“The Forum will provide the opportunity to address with our leading Chinese university partners one of the great social challenges of the 21st century,” said Mark S. Wrighton, chancellor of WUSTL.
In coming years China will be severely tested as it faces a significant challenge: the nation’s aging population. With the largest baby boom generation in the world—more than 400 million—it stands out among all the countries in the world in its demographic revolution. A large pool of young workers in manufacturing jobs led to 30 years of economic growth in China, but those workers are now aging out of the workforce at the same time as life expectancy has climbed to 76 years. All of this creates new challenges for social security funding and productive living options for retirees. New medical issues have also emerged and include increased numbers of patients with dementia. By 2050 China will have about 120 million people over 80 years of age, with 20% of those expected to suffer from dementia.
Facts to explore are compelling:
- The number of Chinese citizens over age 65 will rise from 100 million in 2005 to 329 million in 2050
- Last year, China’s workforce decreased by 4.87 million to 911 million people.
- By 2050 China can expect at least 24 million of its older citizens to have dementia, with about 17 million with Alzheimer’s Disease
- Our understanding of the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease has advanced significantly over the last 30 years and has led to several promising therapeutic targets for the disease.
- Disease modifying treatments for Alzheimer’s are getting closer and closer to reality and it is likely in the next 5-10 years that there will be treatments that slow the disease and delay its onset.
- Policies and programs are emerging to increase economic security for extended years of life, to support older adults with chronic health conditions and disabilities who need assistance, and to ensure meaningful engagement and purpose in later life.
Research collaboration between Greater China and the U.S. will be more important than ever in tackling the issues of aging and will advance our efforts to transform societies in the face of this global challenge.
If you are interested in attending the media briefing and/or the conference, please RSVP to Bill Xu at the Shanghai office of Washington University in St. Louis at email@example.com or mobile: 86-13816989745, or for Western press, Jonathan Dedmon at The Dilenschneider Group, 312-553-0700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.