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The long, difficult search for a drug to treat Alzheimer’s and dementia

In Alzheimer's news from around the globe, this week we focus on England and the ongoing fight to find a cure.

"Dementia will take hold of one in three people who passes the age of 65, and costs the UK more than £26bn a year. This week the Office for National Statistics announced it is now the commonest cause of death in England and Wales, passing cancer and heart disease. People with dementia lose the ability to care for themselves and can become malnourished, while their immune system weakens. Infections such as pneumonia may be the actual agent of death, but dementia is the underlying cause.

It is a cruel disease, which takes away the person their families love and know, leaving a stranger who looks at them with confusion. And while there are are some drugs that will temporarily alleviate symptoms in some people, there is no cure. But dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is the commonest form, has finally begun to get the attention it deserves. In December 2013, the G8 countries, meeting in London, agreed to set an ambition to cure or come up with a significant treatment for Alzheimer’s by 2025. Last year David Cameron announced that the UK would set up a dedicated dementia research institute, with initial funding of £150m, and a further £100m from Alzheimer’s charities. Although the UK was already spending £300m on dementia research, Cameron believed it should be afforded the same level of resources as Aids and climate change. That was welcome news to campaigners, although, they say, the sum is still much less than that invested in cancer research (£590m in 2010)."

To read the full article, click HERE.

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