Calls for greater attention on prevention of dementia

Posted on 25th October 2018

The Lancet: Changes in health in the countries of the UK and 150 English Local Authority areas 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016

As a new study highlights the importance of prevention strategies to manage dementia and other major health conditions, Alzheimer’s Research UK, the leading dementia research charity in the UK, is calling on government action to support dementia research and prevention.

The new study published in the Lancet today looked at health conditions over the last 20 years to assess the burden of disease areas on UK countries. The study analysed changes in years of life lost (YLLs) and while many disease areas showed a slowing in improvements, the study found no improvements for people with dementia.

850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia today while an estimated 700,000 people act as informal carers for someone with dementia. The condition is leading cause of death and costs the UK economy £26 billion each year, a figured carried almost entirely by social and informal care.

Dr Carol Routledge, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“This study demonstrates again that prevention must be a core strategy for managing major health conditions, including dementia. We know that the same activities that benefit heart health are also good for brain health. As the leading cause of death in the UK, it’s vital for dementia to be included in prevention strategies within the health system. Government has a key role to play in helping increase public awareness of the measures people can take to reduce their risk of dementia.

“Unfortunately, we currently have few options to treat the diseases that cause dementia. The best way we can begin to prevent this devastating condition is through greater investment in research. Alzheimer’s Research UK is calling on government to lead this effort by committing to spend the equivalent of 1% of the annual cost of dementia on research.”

Alzheimer’s Research UK is asking the public to support a Parliamentary debate about increasing investment in dementia research by signing our petition at alzres.uk/petition.

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