Dementia time bomb: funding will double in next 12 years

Research funding will increase to £132m but will still leave dementia 'significantly behind'

LAST UPDATED AT 08:40 ON Wed 11 Dec 2013

ANNUAL funding for dementia research in the UK is set to double to £132m by 2025, amid growing concerns that the disease is the “next global health time bomb”.

David Cameron made the announcement before a dementia summit, at which health ministers from the G8 nations will discuss the best ways to advance research.

The number of dementia sufferers around the world is expected to treble to 135 million by 2050 and concern is growing that some countries will not be able to cope. Experts have previously described the disease as “the next global health time bomb”.

“Dementia is heading towards being the biggest health and care problem of a generation so you'd think it would have the funding to match,”says BBC health and science reporter James Gallagher. “Yet it really is the poor relation of other diseases.”

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, an incurable disease that ultimately leaves people needing full-time care as brain function wastes away. The UK is aiming to double its spend from the 2015 target of £66m, but this will still leave dementia “significantly behind”, says Gallager. For example, in the UK, about £590m is spent on cancer research – approximately eight times the figure for dementia.

Author Sir Terry Pratchett, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2008, told the BBC's Newsnight "a lot more" money should be spent on dementia research and care.
The Alzheimer's Society, which has promised to spend at least £100m on research in the next decade, said the details it had seen from government so far “are not enough”. The charity called for an “injection of ambition, commitment to a long-term strategy and more funding”.

Meanwhile, the Care Quality Commission is planning unannounced inspections of the care of dementia patients at 150 institutions across England. · 

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