Dementia must become a top priority for global health policy, according one industry expert.
Professor Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has called for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to accord dementia the same status as diabetes, lung disease and heart disease.
Speaking to an international conference he also requested a UN General Assembly special session on mental health and dementia, and for world leaders to sign an action plan for the condition.
Professor Piot stated: "Dementia is one of the largest neglected global health challenges of our generation, with 36 million people living with the condition today."
Investing in dementia research, treatments and services now will "save later" - a lesson that has been learnt through the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The call comes amid announcements by the UK government that money will be invested in health research in Britain.
Some £100 million will be used to support groundbreaking clinical research.
Find out about dementia care and support services at Barchester care homes.