UK calls on world to tackle global crisis of dementia


Today, for the first time, health leaders from the developed world have come together to map out how they will fight dementia, the Department of Health has announced.

At the first G8 summit on a specific illness since HIV, called by the UK as part of its G8 presidency, health and science leaders have today agreed a package of measures to tackle the growing global health, social and economic crisis of dementia. Currently 36 million people across the world have dementia and the World Health Organisation predicts that numbers will nearly double every two decades.

Speaking at the Summit, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "It doesn't matter whether you're in London or Los Angeles, in rural India or urban Japan - dementia steals lives, it wrecks families, it breaks hearts and that is why all of us here are so utterly determined to beat it.

"In generations past, the world came together to take on the great killers. We stood against malaria, cancer, HIV and AIDS and we are just as resolute today. I want December 11th 2013 to go down as the day that the global fight-back began."

As a result of the first ever G8 summit on dementia, the countries have agreed to:

  • Set an ambition to identify a cure or a disease-modifying therapy for dementia by 2025 - backed by a commitment to together significantly increase the amount spent on dementia research and increase the number of people involved in clinical trials and studies on dementia
  • A new Global Envoy for Dementia Innovation, following in the footsteps of global envoys on HIV and Aids and on Climate Change - the Global Envoy will bring together international expertise to stimulate innovation and co-ordinate international efforts to attract new sources of finance, including exploring the possibility of a new private and philanthropic fund to support global dementia innovation
  • Develop an international action plan for research - in particular to identify current gaps and how to fill them
  • Share information and data from dementia research studies across the G8 countries to work together and get the best return on investment in research
  • Encourage open access to all publicly-funded dementia research to make data and results available for further research as quickly as possible.

Greater investment in research, focussing research where there is more to learn and greater sharing of data will mean everyone understands more and can move towards better treatment and cures - in the same way that medicine has made great strides in tackling diseases like HIV and cancer. Simply increasing spending on dementia research will not be enough - that is why there will be an action plan on how the G8 countries will work together to fill the gaps and opportunities in dementia research with the ultimate aim of finding a cure or disease-modifying treatment by 2025.

The G8 is also supporting the UK in appointing a Global Dementia Innovation Envoy - the Global Envoy will ensure the international focus continues, driving innovation in care and treatments for people with dementia.