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G8 Dementia Summit – The Dementia Time Bomb

The G8 Dementia Summit took place in London on 11 December 2013. David Cameron is using his Presidency of the G8 summit 2013 to bring the issue of this worldwide disease to the attention of the world’s leaders and ahead of the summit announced plans to double the funding available for research from £66 million in 2015 to £122 million in 2025.    
Dementia, of which Alzheimer disease is the most common, is a memory-robbing brain condition affecting 44 million people globally with an expectation that 135 million will have the disease in 2050. Scientists are still struggling to understand the nature of the disease and there is still no treatment that can modify it, let alone a cure.   
According to figures the global cost of dementia is already more than $600 billion and the figures will escalate. It is not only the cost of dementia that affects society but the heartbreak that it brings to families as they gradually lose the person that they have known and loved to this disease.   
Much of the current research is focused on the idea that early intervention is likely to be the key to success, as once dementia has developed enough to show serious symptoms, it may be too late for any medicines to work.  At the G8 Dementia Summit yesterday David Cameron unveiled millions of pounds of investment in UK Life Sciences at the forefront of research in to causes and treatments of dementia, as the Summit agreed a landmark deal on the disease which was that it “would develop a co-ordinated international research action plan” to target the gaps in research and ways to address them.  
The UK Government pledged to double public, commercial and charitable research and development in dementia in the UK by 2025, supporting leading scientists, universities and other institutions in seeking the next breakthrough. David Cameron outlined how the government aims to do this in the UK by providing a research funding boost and there were announcements of more private sector investment by pharmaceutical companies, Alzheimers Research UK and the Medical Research Council amongst others.  There will also be a newly formed UK Dementia Platform bringing together researchers and scientists from the public and private sectors.  
There is to be joint action across Europe. The Innovative Medicines Initiative will invest £44 million in Alzheimer drug trials. The European Commission will also invest £460 million and issue a call for proposals into research on neurodegenerative diseases, including UK research institutions and universities.   
David Cameron called on all governments and others to follow suit as dementia is our biggest health and social care challenge. The additional research funding will be used to drive forward research into prevention and cure of Alzheimers disease and other forms of dementia but also into the best form of treatment and support for those facing the daily challenge of living with dementia today.    
At Balfour+Manson, our Private Client and Client Welfare Teams come across problems facing clients, their carers and families before and after diagnosis. As well as ensuring that they have in place, if at all possible, Powers of Attorney, if this is no longer possible we will provide legal assistance when an application is made for guardianship.   
Our dedicated Client Welfare Team assist elderly and vulnerable individuals to be safe, supported and well cared for and the need for this assistance in addition to our legal services is becoming more and more important. 
Yesterday the world’s richest countries committed themselves to trying to find a cure for dementia by 2025 in the pledge made in a Declaration issued at the end of the Summit.  It is vital that they deliver on this pledge as it becomes more apparent that the dementia time bomb, as it is becoming known, is a health crisis which is one of the greatest challenges that we and the rest of the world will face in this century.