English mathematician and TV presenter Rachel Riley recently joined Alzheimer’s Research UK to present the signatures of almost 35,000 British people calling for more dementia research funding.

The petition asks the government for an increase in dementia research funding and to put the equivalent of just 1% of the UK’s annual economic cost of dementia towards research each year. Currently at £26bn – in just 18 months the cost is predicted to rise to £30bn a year. Ms Riley joined the public, who have backed a call for increased government funding for dementia research, to deliver the signatures on Alzheimer’s Research UK’s petition to 10 Downing Street on 23 May 2019.

The need for more dementia research funding

Alzheimer’s Research UK has called on the government to scale up research ambition to meet this challenge by funding £320m in dementia research each year by 2025.

Government funding for dementia research is currently at £83.1m per year, or 0.3% of the condition’s annual cost, compared to £269m for cancer, which has benefitted from long-term sustained funding to deliver new treatments.

After 34,401 people from across the UK signed the petition, Ms Riley joined charity representatives and people affected by dementia to officially deliver this call to Downing Street.

Dementia is now the UK’s biggest killer

Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Dementia is now the UK’s biggest killer and the cause of heartbreak for families nationwide. The desperate need for a life-changing treatment for dementia will only grow as more people develop the condition.

“That’s why at Alzheimer’s Research UK we have upped our ambition by pledging an extra £250m for research by 2025 – but researchers need the government to play its part too. To make breakthroughs possible and transform people’s lives, government funding for dementia research must increase in line with the impact of the condition.”

Rachel Riley, who is a committed supporter of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Long-term, sustained funding for cancer research has helped save more lives and keep more families together. Research can do the same for dementia, and it’s a simple equation: with more funding, scientists will be able to make breakthroughs faster to reduce the impact of dementia.

“Nearly 1 million people are living with dementia in the UK, and we owe it to them and their families to pick up the pace.”

This article was published by Health Europa on 19th May 2019

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