One in three people born this year will develop dementia. The Alzheimer’s Research UK charity has warned of a “looming national health crisis” as the population ages.
It called for greater efforts across the globe to develop new treatments. Dementia affects 850,000 people in the UK, resulting in the loss of brain cells. The most common type is Alzheimer’s disease. Early symptoms include problems with memory and thinking. Sufferers can experience difficulty with walking, balance and swallowing.
Age is the biggest risk factor for developing dementia. As people live longer than ever before, the numbers with dementia will rise.
The latest analysis, commissioned by Alzheimer’s Research UK and carried out by the Office of Health Economics, was released to mark World Alzheimer’s Day.
Twenty seven percent of boys born in 2015 will develop the condition in later life, as will 37% of girls.
Previous research from the same team had estimated that the development of a drug that could delay the onset of dementia by five years would cut the number of cases by a third.
Dr Matthew Norton, head of policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “It’s wonderful news that each generation is living longer than the last, but it’s important to ensure that people can enjoy these extra years in good health. Dementia is our greatest medical challenge, and if we are to beat it we must invest in research to find new treatments and preventions.
“Research has the power to transform lives, and our actions now will help determine the future for children born today.”
Amanda Franks, from Swindon, is a champion of Alzheimer’s Research UK. Her mother, Cathy, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s six years ago. Amanda said: “My mum was only 58 when she was diagnosed. Up until then, we had no idea this devastating disease could affect someone so young. Simple day-to-day tasks, like making a cup of tea, getting dressed and eating, soon became a huge challenge for mum. Dad cared for her at home with family help for five years, by which time things were getting out of hand with her violent behaviour and hallucinations — life became extremely stressful.
“As a mum myself, I would dearly love to see preventions and new treatments found to defeat Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, giving hope to people now and future generations.”
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