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Dementia crisis looming, warns Hunt

  • 42 Comments

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has warned that Britain is facing a crisis if more is not done to combat dementia.

Visiting pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly’s UK dementia research centre, Mr Hunt met scientists and researchers working to prevent and treat the disease.

Mr Hunt’s comments came as he announced the government is to invest £22m in 21 pioneering dementia research projects.

The funding was awarded by the National Institute of Health Research and is designed to cover all areas of scientific activity relevant to dementia, across the fields of care, cure and cause, including prevention.

Mr Hunt said many pharmaceutical companies may avoid dementia research due to the huge complexities of studying the human brain, but warned that this was not an issue to be ignored.

He said: “With one in three families affected by dementia, this is something which is becoming a crisis.

“Around a million people will have dementia in the next few years. One of the big challenges we have is this big quest to get a cure or a treatment to halt dementia or Alzheimer’s in their tracks.

“We’ve had some setbacks this year, and some high-profile failures. But Lilly as a company has actually had some big successes, and so what I’ve learned today is that it’s not all gloom and doom.

“I think there is a real prospect of a treatment that could could have a significant impact on slowing the spread of Alzheimer’s within the next decade.”

Mr Hunt said the amount invested in dementia research had been doubled due to concerns about the country’s ageing population and the desire to keep Britain at the forefront of medical research.

He said Britain’s ageing population would become the most dominant issue in politics over the next decade.

 

 

 

 

 

  • 42 Comments

Readers' comments (42)

  • what do you care hunt you dont give a toss about the nhs

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  • "He said Britain’s ageing population would become the most dominant issue in politics over the next decade."

    Heaven help us we will soon all have labels and the government and medical profession who take over responsibility for our health and our futures.

    It needs more than investment in Big Pharma and their pills to care appropriately for the elderly with dementia.

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  • the only reason it will become a 'political' issue is becasue of the cost of providing quality care.

    Until a wonder pill is discovered we will have to decide whether we want to provide quality care with specialist dementia trained nurses who understand dementia or just provide basic care in elderly people farms.

    Private care homes are mostly providing the latter.

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  • Tinkerbell

    the only reason it will become a 'political' issue is becasue of the cost of providing quality care.

    Until a wonder pill is discovered we will have to decide whether we want to provide quality care with specialist dementia trained nurses who understand dementia or just provide basic care in elderly people farms.

    Private care homes are mostly providing the latter.

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  • surely the elderly with dementia are entitled to the same healthcare as anybody else considering everybody, in theory pays income tax to cover it, or are we now choosing who and what conditions we prefer to care for regardless of the fact they are paying for it. some of the elderly who have been fortunate to be in good health all their lives have paid into the nhs system during all of this time and supported others whose usage may be far more frequent or heavy so should they not also be able to derive the benefits of good care as and when they need it no matter their pathology?

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  • healthcare of the future looks promising with dementia testing for everybody over a certain age when they present to the medical services for whatever reason (strange they have time for this in A&E in view of the long delays some patients have to suffer and the funding for it in view of the current financial crisis which blamed for staff shortages and ddropping standards of care), DNA collection, remote GPs and nurses, prophylactic medication even in the absence of any symptom, opting out of organ donation which might be rather difficult for emergency admissions under some circumstances if the patient is not in a state to respond, lack of care for the elderly, poor maternity services, less trained staff, etc. and this seems to be just the start of what the future might look like.

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  • Dementia "testing" ?

    Is it ethical to attempt to determine if someone is "dementing" when there is no effective treatment or cure. Especially if the individual is experiencing no major difficulties in their life.

    Now ---- what day is it ?

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  • Some wonderful responses to "dementia" testing------


    Can you tell me what day is today ----"Yes"

    What day is it then " Have you forgotten?"

    What is this? (patient is shown a wrist watch) ---" I don't know but if you hang it on the wall its a clock"

    What's the Queens name --" Well she is old now and Charles will be the next one. Does she still wear a crown?"

    Where do you live? --- "In a house"

    What time is it ? ---" Time I was going home"

    Is it the patient or the tester who has a problem? !

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  • Anonymous | 28-Dec-2012 4:04 am

    fortunately there are plenty of reminders on this page to tell us what date it is!

    How many times on ward rounds when patients are being questioned to establish their orientation in time and space have we been unable to mentally respond. Even in my distant youth I certainly didn't instantly recall the answers to some of the questions being asked and often did not know the date or even the day until I sat down in the office to write up notes. how often did we have to check with each other what the date was and sometimes even had to look it up in the diary or on a newspaper - I still do this all the time as do many other people.

    as far as ethics are concerned, I think this type of cognitive testing could quickly become highly subjective.

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 28-Dec-2012 11:27 am

    I rarely know the date, and often don't know the day either - especially after Bank Holidays.

    My memory was always awful, I am not looking forward to it getting even worse - opinions vary about whether I'm crackers or very clever (I get both - presumably I'm somewhere in between).

    I just hope that competence in typing, never gets used as the test !

    And, yes, they are desperate for a pill, to negate the costs of properly (i.e. decently) caring for people with dementia (I read that Germany has started to export its elderly to The East !).

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