To improve the lives of people with dementia by 2025, the UK government must:
- Increase funding for research.
Right now, dementia costs the UK economy £25bn each year – projected to grow to £30bn by 2030. If government put the equivalent of 1% of this toward research - £250m – it would more than triple current investment in dementia research.
This would help accelerate the search for breakthrough treatments to improve the lives of people with dementia.
- Drive a movement of people to make research breakthroughs possible.
Thanks to funding increases from government and funders like Alzheimer’s Research UK, the number of dementia researchers doubled between 2008/09 and 2014/15.
This led to a nearly doubling of the speed of research discoveries. These include the discovery of new genes driving Alzheimer’s that are directing the search for new treatments today.
However, there is still progress to be made: for every dementia researcher there are four cancer researchers.
Government should also ensure all people diagnosed with dementia can take part in medical research. We want to see the number of people with dementia enrolled in dementia studies reach 20% by 2025.
- Diagnose diseases like Alzheimer’s earlier.
For people with Alzheimer’s and many other dementias, the first signs of disease begin in the brain decades before symptoms appear.
Alzheimer’s Research UK is committed to improving how we detect the diseases that cause dementia, working to identify them before symptoms start.
We are working with government, industry and healthcare professionals bring forward the day when this can happen effectively. This will help widen the search for new treatments and dramatically improve their chances of success.
- Spread the word about prevention.
Research suggests that up to a third of dementia cases could be linked to risk factors that we can control. Many of these are the same as the risk factors for cardiovascular disease
However, only a third (34%) of people think it’s possible to reduce their risk of developing dementia. This compares to 81% who think it’s possible to reduce their risk of developing diabetes.
With help from the government, we can spread the word about the ways to look after your brain health throughout life.
- Prepare for a life-changing treatment for dementia.
There are currently no treatments that can slow the progression of diseases like Alzheimer’s or delay the onset of the disease.
Government and the healthcare sector must prepare for the cost and resource implications of a future treatment for dementia. By doing this work now, we can ensure people who would benefit from these treatments can access them quickly.
This information was updated in May 2019 and is due for review in May 2020. It does not replace any advice that doctors, pharmacists or nurses may give you. Please contact us if you would like a version with references.
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