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Britain’s PM to Double Funding for Dementia Research

Update Date: Dec 11, 2013 09:40 AM EST

Based on recent studies, researchers have estimated that the number of cases of dementia will increase over the next few decades. In order to prepare for such an increase, governments throughout the world must develop more efficient ways in dealing with this mental disease. Today, the United Kingdom hosted the G8 dementia summit with the hopes of coordinating a global action against dementia. During the summit, which took place at London's Lancaster House, Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron pledged to double the funding for research on dementia.

"In terms of a cure, or even a treatment that can modify the disease, we are empty-handed," World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Margaret Chan, said at the summit reported by Reuters.

During Cameron's keynote address, he stated that Britain needed to take the lead in dementia research. He stressed that in order to combat dementia at home and throughout the world, more breakthroughs need to be discovered, which is why he wants to double the funding for dementia research in the UK. This would increase funding from 66 million pounds ($108 million) in 2015 to 122 million pounds ($200 million) in 2025. In the UK, cancer research currently gets funding that is eight times larger than the funding for dementia.

"Building a more competitive, resilient economy with new industries and the jobs of the future is a key part of my long-term plan for Britain. That's why we are throwing everything we have at making the UK the place to invest and locate and work in life sciences," Cameron said before the summit according to the Daily Record. "But if we are to beat dementia, we must also work globally, with nations, business and scientists from all over the world working together as we did with cancer, and with HIV and Aids."

Aside from increasing the funding, the British Health Minister, Jeremy Hunt added that borrowing tactics from the fight against AIDS could greatly benefit the global fight against dementia. The leaders also stressed the importance of finding better treatment options for this debilitating disease.

Dementia affects around 44 million throughout the world and is estimated to increase to 135 million by 2050 based on statistics provided by the Alzheimer's Disease International, which is a non-profit group. By 2050, researchers estimated that 71 percent of the cases will be from people living in poor and middle income families who might have a harder time getting access to care. Providing care and developing better treatments are vital in tackling dementia.

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