Alzheimer’s Research UK is calling on the government to fund more dementia research than ever before as new figures show that dementia continues to lead causes of death for people over 75 in England. The data released today by Public Health England shows that dementia contributed to over a quarter of deaths.
There is currently no way to slow, stop or prevent the diseases that cause dementia entirely, which means the number of people living with dementia will continue to rise as people survive other health conditions and live longer than ever before. Dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing, but a condition caused by brain diseases, most commonly Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, believes that long-term and sustained investment in dementia research can bring about the same life-changing treatments made available to treat cancer and HIV/AIDS in recent decades.
Helen Davies, Head of Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“We know that dementia is not only the leading cause of death in the UK but is the health crisis of our time, causing heartbreak to families across the country and straining the health system.
“We have seen our understanding of the diseases that cause dementia grow with increased support for research from government in recent years. But government hasn’t yet committed to the kind of support we must see to bring about life-changing new treatments.
“Alzheimer’s Research UK is calling on the government to put just 1% of the cost of dementia towards research to improve the lives of people with dementia. Both the review of the Challenge on Dementia and the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review offer unique opportunities to meet this health crisis head on, but the government must act now if we are to end the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.”
In 2017/18, the government invested £82.5 million in dementia research, the equivalent of 0.3% of the £26bn cost of dementia to the UK economy. In contrast, the government put £269 million, or 1.6% of the cost of cancer, towards research in 2015/16, the last year data was available.