UK to play lead role in European fight against dementia

Published 22 July 2009

The UK will play a leading role in coordinated European action to tackle dementia from today (22 July 2009).

A new initiative launched by the European Commission has adopted proposals to tackle Alzheimer's disease, dementias and other neurodegenerative conditions.  The UK is one of ten countries that will lead research aimed at tackling shared health and social care problems. 

According to the Commission there are over seven million people with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders in Europe and it is predicted that this number will double in the next 20 years.

Today's actions mark new steps both in the Commission's 'Europe for Patients campaign' and the new approach of Joint Programming in research.

Dr Susanne Sorensen, Head of Research, Alzheimer's Society says,

'Building on successful high impact dementia research, the UK will play a critical role in this initiative, leading the fight to defeat dementia.  By uniting to find a cause, cure and fund care, we can galvanise our efforts and offer hope to millions of people.
'But while Europe strives forward, the UK government still lags behind the US, Germany and France in providing dementia research funding and there is still no specifically targeted dementia research funding.

Yesterday the government promised to develop a strategy for investment in dementia research. It must make good on its promises or we will all pay the price.'

In an open letter to the government yesterday, 31 leading dementia researchers united to call for a national plan for dementia research and a tripling of current investment. The letter coincides with a unique ministerial research summit on dementia which stated the importance of increasing research funding spent on dementia. Experts agree the UK must follow the French model for dementia research which provides a focused structure to support the full breadth of cause, cure and care research. 

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