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One in three people born this year will develop dementia

New research commissioned by Alzheimer’s Research and carried out by the Office of Health Economics has suggested that one in three people born this year will develop dementia during their lifetime.

Using analysis of life expectancy and incidence of dementia, the research estimated that 27% of males and 37% of females born in 2015 will develop dementia. Currently 850,000 people have dementia in the UK and based on the new research, this could rise to two million by 2051.

Given the growing incidence of the disease, the Alzheimer’s Society say not enough is being spent on dementia research: £73.8 million is spent on dementia research in the UK compared to £502.8 million on cancer research. George McNamara, Head of Policy at the Alzheimer's Society, said: “Dementia is already the biggest health challenge this country faces. It costs the UK in excess of £26 billion, which equates to £30,000 per person with dementia - more than the cost of either cancer or heart disease. Today's stark finding should galvanise the government and us all into action. We urgently need long-term, sustainable research funding that is proportionate to the economic and social impact of the condition.”

Others warned that increasing cases of dementia will put additional pressure on the national health system. Dr Matthew Norton, head of policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “The dementia related health services are creaking as it is, and we already have a crisis in social care. Dementia is our greatest medical challenge and if we are to beat it, we must invest in research to find new treatments and preventions.”

Fiona Lowry, CEO of the Good Care Group, added: “Many of the people we care for have dementia and we use the latest research to ensure our highly trained carers are delivering the highest possible level of care. We know that a strong understanding of the condition is the basis for person-based care that enables loved ones with dementia to live well for longer in their own homes. It is vital that research continues into this disease, and is made a healthcare priority in the UK.”