Alzheimer’s Research UK calls for global dementia commitment after WHO sounds the alarm

Posted on 7th December 2017

Alzheimer’s Research UK is calling for a renewed global commitment to treating dementia following new data from the World Health Organization (WHO) released today.

The figures predict the number of people living with the condition will triple from 50 million to 152 million by 2050. This falls in line with data for the UK, where the number of people living with dementia is expected to more than double to two million by 2050.

The announcement came as the WHO launched a Global Dementia Observatory to better understand the efforts taking place around the world to tackle dementia. As part of that effort, the WHO calls for more research in dementia stating that dementia research output falls behind other leading health issues, with 7,000 dementia publications in 2016 compared to 15,000 for diabetes and 99,000 for cancer.

Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, is calling on government to make dementia research a priority.

Hilary Evans, Chief Executive for Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“The data released today by the World Health Organization is further proof that dementia is a growing global issue that cannot be ignored. The number of people with dementia in the UK is set to hit two million by 2050, but gains in life expectancy across the globe are expected to contribute to even greater increases in the number of people with dementia worldwide.

“Research is the only way to head off the growing dementia crisis. With the UK already punching above its weight on the global dementia research stage, imagine the progress we could make with high-level, sustained funding for our scientists. Collaborative initiatives like the UK Dementia Research Institute are an important step forward, but research output in dementia is still far lower than other health conditions and as a country, we must do more to tackle the condition. A treatment that could delay the onset of dementia by just five years could result in 36 percent fewer people with dementia in the UK alone, and save the UK economy £14.1billion.

“Researchers, organisations and governments around the world must come together to bring an end to the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia. We need to know that global leaders are still committed to the ambitions for finding a treatment that were laid out at the 2013 G8 Dementia Summit. The UK can lead the global effort by making dementia a priority here at home, so we’re asking the government to increase the annual budget for dementia research to a minimum of £132m by 2022.”

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