Dementia Research Under Threat Over Lack of Funding

By Chris Berry

Insufficient funding is threatening imperative research work into dementia. A number of projects are facing closure while arduous scientists may have to quit as a result of not being able to make a regular living wage.

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According to Shadow Health Minister Andrew Gwynne the government is largely to blame for the struggle.

“Despite David Cameron’s public commitment to fund dementia research, it’s heading in the opposite direction. He must also be straight with people about how his cuts to social care budgets have hit dementia sufferers hardest. They aren’t getting the support they need at home. Older people are paying the price of Cameron’s broken promises – they deserve much better,” Gwynne said.

Word leaders are meeting for the first G8 Summit on dementia in London, hosted by the Prime Minister, in hope thats they will increase funding for research into the illness. Experts anticipate that dementia will affect 135 million people worldwide by 2050.

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Currently, the condition costs the UK £23 billion annually in medical and care costs. Dr Simon Ridley, head researcher for the Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Dementia is one of the greatest challenges facing society and we are not doing enough. Because of ageing populations, the scale of dementia will continue to rise. Lack of funding can interrupt projects and, although scientists are driven by their interests and desire to make the world a better place and to fight disease, they need to live.”

Close to 200 research projects are being conducted in the UK, all of which are funded by grants from the Government, charities and medical trusts. Most of these studies are short term without the assurance of being extended even if they produce promising results.

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“This system of funding is not sensible. Researchers work very hard but their work comes to an end and they have to go elsewhere,” Dr Ridley said.

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