Leading dementia research charity calls on political parties to ‘face up to the challenge’

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By Alex Smith | Wednesday 13 November 2019

Alzheimer’s Research UK is calling on all political parties to drive forward efforts to find life-changing treatments for dementia – by urging them to commit just 1% of the annual cost of dementia on research in this general election.

One in three people born today will develop dementia in their lifetime, unless we find new treatments and preventions. Yet government funding for dementia research still lags far behind other health areas, which is why the UK’s leading dementia research charity is asking for much greater investment. Currently, the government spends £82.5m a year on dementia research, around 0.3% of the condition’s economic cost.

The call comes after Labour announced its Rescue Plan for the NHS, which includes a plan to invest £1 billion in public health services, with a focus on prevention. Research has shown that people can make positive lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of dementia, with the best advice being what’s good for your heart is good for your head. Alzheimer’s Research UK is calling for this commitment to include measures to help the public reduce their dementia risk, and urging all political parties to pledge to invest in dementia research to make life-changing breakthroughs possible.

Samantha Benham-Hermetz, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“Dementia is crippling our society, our economy and our NHS and it will continue to do so unless we bring about life-changing treatments. That’s why Alzheimer’s Research UK is calling on all political parties to face up to the dementia challenge during this general election campaign and commit to making much greater investments in dementia research.

“The Labour Party’s pledge to commit £1 billion to public health services is encouraging, and we would urge all parties to ensure dementia prevention forms a key part of any health policy. A third of dementia cases could be down to lifestyle and health factors in our power to change, but only one in three people believe they can reduce their risk of the condition. It’s essential that efforts to educate the public about their brain health are transformed, so people are armed with the information they need to make positive lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of dementia.

“While prevention is a key part of the picture, more research is still needed to bring about life-changing treatments for those who do develop dementia. We’re urging all parties to commit to spending just 1% of the annual cost of dementia on research – investing £320m a year by 2025. This would bring dementia research investment in line with other serious health conditions and drive us towards the breakthroughs people desperately need and deserve.”


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Alex Smith