Invest in ME Conference 12: First Class in Every Way
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Telegraph: Dementia is a national crisis like HIV and cancer, says David Cameron

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Firestormm, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. Firestormm

    Firestormm

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    26 March 2012: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/poli...d-Cameron.html

    The Prime Minister is likely to argue that dementia is a scandal being ignored, as he unveils a doubling in funding for research into the illness to 66 million by 2015.

    In a speech in central London, he will describe dementia as a quiet crisis that steals lives and tears at the hearts of families.

    Sufferers of dementia, which causes the mind to deteriorate, currently fill a quarter of all hospital beds.

    Health ministers are also concerned that the 19 billion cost of treating Britains 67,000 dementia patients every year is higher than that of treating cancer, heart disease or stroke sufferers.

    Alzheimer's Disease is the most common cause of dementia and the most feared complaint among people over the age of 55 in the UK, behind cancer and stroke. However, only one in four people with the illness are diagnosed.

    As the NHS struggles with this cost, Mr Cameron plans to improve research on living with dementia and fund a new academic centre for scientists to investigate the causes of the condition.

    He also wants to encourage people to volunteer for brain scanning to help identify the signs of early onset.

    We did it with cancer in the 70s. With HIV in the 80s and 90s, he will say. We fought the stigma, stepped up to the challenge and made massive in-roads into fighting these killers.

    Now weve got to do the same with dementia. This is a personal priority of mine.

    The number of people suffering from the condition is likely to reach a million within a decade, but only around one in four will get a correct diagnosis.

    Dementia is simply a terrible disease, he will say. And it is a scandal that we as a country havent kept pace with it. The level of diagnosis, understanding and awareness of dementia is shockingly low. It is as though weve been in collective denial.

    So my argument today is that weve got to treat this like the national crisis it is. We need an all-out fight-back against this disease; one that cuts across society."

    Shirley Cramer, chief executive of Alzheimers Research UK, said the new money was crucial to "if we are to avert the drastic economic costs of dementia that lie in wait".

    Emergency hospital admissions for dementia sufferers have risen sharply in recent years.

    Experts say the increasing number of admissions is costly to the NHS and in many cases unnecessary, as well as traumatic for vulnerable patients.

    Sir Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust, the medical charity, said the challenge of rising dementia cases would not be solved by medicine alone.

    It will also require progress in social care, so that patients can be helped to live at home for longer, and so that relatives who care for their loved ones receive the support they need, he said.

    Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, said the extra funding for research marks an unprecedented step towards making the UK a world leader in dementia.

    He said Britain needs to see a radical shift in the way we talk, think and act on dementia.
     
  2. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Hibernating

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    Basically, research funding for Alzheimers and other dimensions is only on par with the current level and given the demographics of the UK, the burden of disease due to this is going way up, so we should indeed be doing more.

    Of course funding for ME is way way way below the level expected based on its disease burden, but that is another topic...
     
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  3. Firestormm

    Firestormm

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    Tip of the iceburg when it comes to research into neurological conditions in general - not to mention funding for long-term care and support etc.

    Welcome news though. I can't help but wonder if greater research effort into Dementia would not maybe unlock some understanding/treatment into our own cognitive issues.

    I have seen on occasion some folk referring to their 'CFS Dementia'. And I would rank my own cognitive failings/deterioration as being of key importance to me (over and above mobility issues for example).

    There was an interesting piece in the NYT recently about Alzheimer's and 'tau-cells' for example: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/02/h...brain-studies-find.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print

    In general though I think any greater understanding of neurological conditions could benefit our own condition.
     
  4. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    People have been saying this for at least a decade.

    It does seem like it's a difficult area to make progress in, with some similarities to CFS in that regard.
     
  5. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    Welcome news Forestormm (having seen the awfulness for sufferers first hand). I heard plaques/abnormal proteins involved but all neurological research will surely increase understanding all round. Can't see ME cognitive problems related - I went from severe - memory, recognition, unable to talk to the present where apart from tirednesses if overdoing all faculties are restored. I thought ME was specific more to the brain stem/hypothalamus functioning. Though not well with all the other usual symptoms it's clear the particular cognitive problems of ME can/do improve unlike dementias.

    (never was a typist - as you see above Firestormm - apologies).
     
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  6. Firestormm

    Firestormm

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    If I was to enter 'cynical mode' then I might point out the fact from the article that a quarter of hospital beds are occupied by those suffering dementia and that there is a priority among the PCT's/NHS to reduce the numbers in bed suffering chronic long-term conditions.

    Ideally, patients and their families would like to return home to familiar surroundings. Apparently, this is the thinking behind the moves being made. A little Off Topic but I attended a management meeting with my local NHS neurological team and PCT commissioners a while ago, and one of the 'initiatives' to keep people out of hospital (and saving them money) related to - in this case - Epilepsy.

    It happens to be a diagnosis I received some ten years or so ago. Anyway, the initiative is to provide wrist-bands to sufferers that say, I paraphase: 'Don't worry. I am having a fit. No need to call an ambulance. Call me a cab instead and I will return home.' I am being serious. It was intended this initiative would save call-outs from ambulances and ER admissions.

    I'm not really sure what prompted the action being taken over Dementia of course, BUT it is very much welcomed that's for sure.

    Tia, don't worry about the typing. You should see how long it takes for me to submit a comment - AND I have to use this computer aid thing. Hey ho. It's called cognitive dysfunction!! :D
     
  7. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    You should charge them 20 a month to wear it!
     
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  8. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    I can well understand any cynicism Firestormm - in my whole experience (12 years) of a medical profession ignorant/unable to aid in the absence of knowledge and real research in the UK held in sway by the industry of psychiatry. Now real research into the brain (it's just an organ like any other).
     
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