Washington University in St. Louis to Host Major Forum on Aging; Gathering in Shanghai Brings Together Greater China University Research Partners to Address Unprecedented Global Social Challenge

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 b.xu@wustl.edu
or mobile: 86-13816989745, or for Western press, Jonathan Dedmon at The
Dilenschneider Group, 312-553-0700 or jdedmon@dgi-chicago.com.

Contacts

Washington University in St. Louis
Bill Xu, 86-13816989745
b.xu@wustl.edu
or
The
Dilenschneider Group
Jonathan Dedmon, 312-553-0700
jdedmon@dgi-chicago.com

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