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Government launches £300m effort to combat dementia

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Prime minister David Cameron Prime minister David Cameron

Research into dementia will receive a £300 million boost over the next five years, as part of proposals announced by the prime minister to improve treatment of the condition.

Other developments announced include the creation of an international institute to study and treat dementia, a separate fund with the aim to cure dementia by 2025, and mandatory training on the condition for every employee for the NHS, including non-clinical support staff.

Announcing the measures, prime minister David Cameron said: 'Dementia is one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime, and I am proud that we are leading the world in fighting it. Because of the growing strength of our economy, we can invest in research and drug-development, as well as public understanding, so we defeat this terrible condition and offer more hope and dignity for those who suffer.'

The initiative will also train three million people as 'dementia friends', who understand the condition and will receive information on making services accessible to people with dementia.

Simon Lovestone, professor of translational neuroscience at the University of Oxford, said: 'Dementia is the biggest single problem facing health services today. Worldwide, it poses an enormous challenge and demands an urgent and substantial response from governments and from the research community.'

It is estimated that 850,000 people in the UK are affected by the condition. There are approximately 44 million people in the world with dementia. That number is expected to double by 2030.

Hilary Evans, charity director at Alzheimer's Research UK, said: 'Today represents an opportunity to reflect on the progress made so far, but we owe it to the 850,000 people in the UK with dementia to build on this work with even bolder commitments. It is vital that we continue to energise a movement across society to improve the lives of people with dementia and that research into the condition continues to be a priority.'

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