The UK government has announced funding into dementia research may be doubled over the next 12 years as it aims to spark a global trend. Through public, commercial and charitable R&D whilst supporting leading scientists, universities and other institutions the next breakthrough in curing dementia may be evident by 2025.
The government has previously spent £66 million in 2015 before expanding to £132 million in 2025. Health ministers meeting in London have admitted their overall aim is a “big ambition” with funding significantly increased to reach their goal. Calling upon the World Health Organization the project aims to support countries adapting in support of curing dementia. A statement said: “We recognise the need to strengthen efforts to stimulate and harness innovation and to catalyse investment at the global level.”
Chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, Jeremy Hughes was impressed with the UK’s head on approach to help research, he said: “Today the UK has demonstrated global leadership on tackling dementia. Dementia has come out of the shadows and is centre stage – we must ensure G8 has a lasting legacy. The governments’ have all committed to updating progress on research biannually, although every month counts for the millions of people living with dementia worldwide.”
Dementia ultimately leaves people needing full-time care as brain functions steadily decrease. David Cameron called on governments, industry and charities all to commit more funding, he said: “If we are to overcome dementia, we need to work globally, with nations, businesses and scientists from all over the world working together as we did with cancer, and with HIV and Aids. This is going to be a bigger and bigger challenge, the key is to keep pushing.”Research has already looked at natural, every day methods which may help reduce the likelihood of dementia, a study published in this week’s journal PLOS One, has found that exercise might play a key role.
Results show those who consistently followed four or five key behaviours experienced a 60% reduction in dementia and cognitive challenges. Proportionate bodyweight, a healthy diet, decreased alcohol intake, and refraining from smoking were all important factors whilst exercise stood out as the most effective.
If exercise may be guaranteed as a method of prevention against dementia, it may see a rise in funding for sport and leisure centres, gyms and sports clubs. Greg Small, Operations Manager for REPs, says: “The investment is a welcome boost which is able to have a positively affect the lives of those people challenged from these conditions.”
REPs, owned by Skills Active, is an independent public register recognising the qualifications and expertise of health-enhancing exercise instructors in the UK. They provide a system of regulation to ensure members of the health and fitness industries are meeting the agreed national occupational standards.
Small continues: “The increased funding should enable health clubs and leisure facilities to ensure people [may] get bespoke, professional training – enabling those people who need it the most to access appropriate fitness training from qualified professionals.” “Our aim is to support everyone in the UK to get more active, and fitter. Through the combination of this additional funding, medical intervention and physical activities, we [are able to] all work together towards relieving families and society of the impact of dementia and its related conditions. If spent well, this investment [might] ensure patients and clients receive the best possible treatment from those professionals qualified to do so.”
The UK aims to start a global motion with their dementia research policy and increased funding as answers are unveiled it may become increasingly evident to which areas of everyday life needs development. For the health and fitness sector more government funding may be on the way, leaving the public with an opportunity to sign up at the local gym.
How might media coverage supported by scientific studies, increase awareness and understanding of dementia in everyday lives?