The son of a dementia victim has described the effects of the disease on the day David Cameron announced a doubling in research funding.
It has replaced cancer as the disease people fear most. A slow descent into dementia frightens people more than almost any other fate.
The Health Secretary told me "it's not all doom and gloom" when it comes to research into dementia and there's the prospect of progress.
The Government is aiming to "roll out" a scan for Alzheimer's disease across the NHS "as quickly as possible", the health secretary told Daybreak.
Jeremy Hunt said the department of health wanted to see "two thirds of people" who suffer from dementia to be diagnosed "by the end of this Parliament".
"The main thing that is exciting about this, is that it is a real palava getting a dementia diagnosis because you have to do these memory tests and people's memories does start to go a bit in old age."
An Alzheimer's scan which will be introduced on the NHS is a "big step forward", according to an industry expert.
However, Alzheimer's Society Chief Executive Jeremy Hughes warned the scan would not be immediately widely available.
"One hospital doing one scan today does not mean it is available across the NHS.
"And the biggest problem we have is still the fear that people have of dementia. They don't even go to the doctor to talk about it and we need to change that."
Industry experts praised David Cameron's plans to double funding into dementia research, with one charity hoping it would "set a good example" across the international community.
Chief executive of Alzheimer's Research UK, Hilary Evans
– Chief Executive of Alzheimer's Research UK, Hilary Evans
We boast some of the world's leading scientists in dementia, and these announcements are a clear backing of their crucial work - this support must continue.
We hope this package of announcements will set a good example to other G8 nations to galvanise international research efforts.
The Prime Minister is expected to announce plans to double Government funding of dementia research in his keynote speech at the first G8 dementia summit later today.
David Cameron also wants to see a similar level of investment from the private and charitable sectors.
- Government investment will double from £66 million to £122 million in 2025.
- A newly established UK Dementia Platform will allow different research teams across the country to share data in order to increase the scale and scope of their work.
- The Medical Research Council is channelling £50 million into dementia research over the next five years.
The Prime Minister is expected to agree to measures designed to boost research into dementia, such as international information-sharing, in a speech at a G8 summit later today.
Britain is hosting the international dementia summit in which David Cameron will give the keynote address.
He is expected to stress the importance of achieving scientific breakthroughs in order to slow down, or even prevent, the onset of the debilitating brain condition, now believed to afflict 36 million people around the world.
The Conservative leader will also focus on the role life sciences plays in the British economy, with GSK announcing £200 million of investment at its manufacturing plants at Ware, Hertfordshire, and Worthing, Sussex, and UCB announcing a further £3 million.
A healthy lifestyle has a "far more beneficial effect" than doctors originally thought, with new findings showing a huge drop in the risk of developing the dementia as one of the benefits, according to scientists
Cardiff University's principle investigator professor Peter Elwood said the results of a 35-year-long study into dementia showed how living healthily was more effective than "any medical treatment or preventative procedure".
– Principle Investigator Professor Peter Elwood from Cardiff University's School of Medicine
What the research shows is that following a healthy lifestyle confers surprisingly large benefits to health - healthy behaviours have a far more beneficial effect than any medical treatment or preventative procedure.
Taking up and following a healthy lifestyle is however the responsibility of the individual him or herself. Sadly, the evidence from this study shows that very few people follow a fully healthy lifestyle.
Our findings reveal that while the number of people who smoke has gone down since the study started, the number of people leading a fully healthy lifestyle has not changed.
Consistently following a healthy lifestyle could lead to a 60% drop in the chance a man has of developing dementia, a 35-year-long study into the disease has conlcuded.
Researchers at Cardiff University found male non-smokers who exercised regularly, stuck to a healthy diet, limited their alcohol intake and kept their bodyweight low reduced their risk.The report also said:
- Those who stuck to at least four out of five points of a healthy lifestyle reduced their chance of cognitive decline by 60%.
- There were also 70% drop in the cases of diabetes, heart disease and stroke by those who lived healthily.
Men who regularly exercise could see their chances of developing dementia significantly reduce, new research suggests.
The research, completed by Cardiff University, monitored the lifestyle habits of 2,235 men over a 35-year period and found that exercise reduced the risk of dementia.
The study identified healthy behaviours including regular exercise, non-smoking, a low bodyweight, a healthy diet and a low alcohol intake as being integral to having the best chance of leading a disease-free lifestyle.
The study comes ahead of a G8 summit on Wednesday to look at the funding and research into dementia.