The UK Alzheimer?s Research Trust has called a report forecasting a huge rise in UK dementia cases a ?clear and stark warning? that the government needs to urgently increase its funding of research into the disease.
According to the joint study by researchers from King?s College London and the London School of Economics, which was commissioned by the Alzheimer?s Society, the number of people suffering from dementia will rise by 154 percent in the next 45 years. The group of leading dementia experts and health economists estimates that 700,000 people?s lives are already blighted by the disease today, and forecast that this number will rise to 1.7 million by 2051. That will mean that dementia will affect the lives of around one in three people either as a sufferer, or as a carer or relative.
Chief Executive of the Alzheimer?s Research Trust, Rebecca Wood, who will attend today?s release of the new study, entitled Dementia UK, said: ?This report adds to the evidence that dementia research needs to be made a national priority after years of neglect. The government desperately needs to invest more into the research of Alzheimer?s and related diseases if we are to avoid critical problems in the future.?
Mrs Wood backed calls for dementia to be made a health and social care priority and noted that this latest report supported earlier findings from an Alzheimer?s Research Trust-funded investigation. She said: ?A previous study we commissioned showed that only ?11 is spent on UK research into Alzheimer?s for every person affected by the disease, compared with ?289 for cancer patients. When we appeal for more money to fund new treatments, cures and research into this devastating condition, we do so in the knowledge that to do nothing will mean nothing less than a national disaster, on an economic, social and personal scale in the future.?
The report found that dementia cost the UK ?539 every second. It also showed that each person with late-onset dementia required an average of ?25,472 worth of care per year – adding up to a nationwide bill of ?17 billion a year – the vast bulk of which is currently met by people with the disease and their families.
Professor Martin Knapp, of the London School of Economics, one of the report’s authors, said: “Dementia is one of the main causes of disability later in life ahead of cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke, yet funding for dementia research is significantly lower than these other conditions.”
Highlighting the government?s woeful current record on dementia research funding, Mrs Wood welcomed a recent Early Day Motion, backed by the Alzheimer?s Research Trust, which indicated that grassroots opinion within Parliament was starting to change. She said: ?The Department of Health recently estimated that there are over 750,000 people with dementia in the UK, but when asked recently how much it spends treating and caring for these patients, it admitted it had no idea. 160 MPs have supported an Early Day Motion calling for increased government funding for Alzheimer?s research, but we urgently need to see this translated into action.?
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Sub-editorDementia :: 1.7m to suffer dementia by 2051
by Sub-editor ( Author at Spirit India )
Posted on February 27th, 2007 at 5:12 am.
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