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28 February 2014

UK committed to early dementia diagnosis

The health secretary Jeremy Hunt has pledged £90m for faster diagnosis times for people with suspected dementia and says he wants Britain to be a leader in both diagnosis and the search for a cure.

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The health secretary Jeremy Hunt has pledged £90m for faster diagnosis times for people with suspected dementia and says he wants Britain to be a leader in both diagnosis and the search for a cure.


Mr Hunt said: “Today's package is about government, clinicians, business, society and investors coming together to raise our game on every front - from speedy diagnosis to compassionate care, and from help on our high streets to the quest for a cure.”

According to the Alzheimer's Society there are around 800,000 people in the UK with dementia. One-in-three people aged over 65 will develop the condition, and two-thirds of sufferers are women.

The news follows the UK Government's promise to boost annual dementia research funding from £66m to £132m by 2025 and the announcement at the G8 Dementia Summit that the G8 nations 'will develop a dementia cure or treatment by 2025'.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced the appointment of a World Dementia Envoy following agreement between the G8 countries at a dementia summit in London in December.  Dr Dennis Gillings, an expert in clinical trials, plans to create a World Dementia Council to raise funds for research towards a cure.

Dr Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organisation, said: “Dementia is a costly and heartbreaking epidemic with an immense impact. We need to accelerate research for new interventions, to find ways to improve the quality of life and care, and to do more to support care-givers and families. I welcome the appointment of Dr Gillings to draw the world's attention to these critical issues.”

Dr Andrew Blackwell, Chief Scientific Officer at Cambridge Cognition, commented: "The commitment to continued research into dementia is vital if we are to make significant progress in finding new ways of managing the condition. There is still much to be done and more support needed for our healthcare services who deal with detecting, diagnosing and managing the condition every day." 

Detecting dementia earlier

Cambridge Cognition is a world leading provider of computerized cognitive assessment products used in academic research to enable understanding of mental health, in clinical trials to ensure new treatments are safe and effective, and in healthcare provision to accurately detect cognitive impairments and speed up diagnosis. 

The company's Cantab Mobile product is enables healthcare providers to quickly detect the earliest signs of dementia using a simple iPad test.

Using Cantab Mobile, clinicians can identify at risk patients so that patient referrals are accurate and efficient, enabling health and social care providers to deliver more effective advice, treatments and care - leading to better outcomes for patients and their families.