DEMENTIA RESEARCH under threat over lack of funding

I131208_205646_1200680oTextCS_52857591-2906767Shadow Health Minister Andrew Gwynne hits out at the government over social care budget cuts.

Vital research work into dementia is being threatened by a critical lack of funding.  Several projects are threatened with closure and dedicated scientists may be forced to quit because they cannot generate a regular living wage, charity Alzheimer’s Research UK has found.

The Government is largely to blame for the crisis, according to Shadow Health Minister Andrew Gwynne.  He said:

“Despite David Cameron’s public commitment to fund dementia research, it’s heading in the opposite direction. He must also be straight with people about how his cuts to social care budgets have hit dementia sufferers hardest.

“They aren’t getting the support they need at home.

“Older people are paying the price of Cameron’s broken promises – they deserve much better.”

The Prime Minister hosts the first G8 Summit on dementia in London on Wednesday. World leaders are being urged to increase funding for research into the illness, which is expected to affect 135 million people worldwide by 2050.

The condition already costs the UK £23billion a year in medical and care costs. Alzheimer’s Research UK has launched an appeal for funds to bridge the gaps between the grants that pay for periods of laboratory work.

Dr Simon Ridley, the charity’s head of research, said: “Dementia is one of the greatest challenges facing society and we are not doing enough. Because of ageing populations, the scale of dementia will continue to rise.

“Lack of funding can interrupt projects and, although scientists are driven by their interests and desire to make the world a better place and to fight disease, they need to live.”

Around 200 research projects are being conducted in the UK, funded by grants from the Government, charities and medical trusts. But many are short term with no guarantee that they will be extended even if results are promising.

Dr Ridley said:

“This system of funding is not sensible. Researchers work very hard but their work comes to an end and they have to go elsewhere.

“It is a significant issue that is hampering our ability to find treatments. The need is urgent. We must not take our foot of the gas.”

This article first appeared in the Sunday Mirror on 8th December 2013, and can be viewed here

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