Cambridge based Alzheimer's Research UK calls for more funding

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The Cambridge based charity Alzheimer's Research UK is calling on the government to deliver its election promise on dementia research funding.

The government said funding would be doubled more than a year ago, but the charity says that it's "yet to materialise."

It comes as campaigner and beloved actress Dame Barbara Windsor passed away from the disease on December 10th.

After her dementia diagnosis in 2014, Dame Barbara became an ambassador for the Alzheimer's Society and met with Prime Minister Boris Johnson to press for better care for people living with the condition.

With no mention of the promised funding in the chancellor's spending review last month, Alzheimer's Research UK has started a petition to hold the government to account.

Simon and Alan Credit: Family photograph

Simon Gibson's father Alan was renowned for his memory.

But, 11 years ago he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and had to be moved to a specialist care home in Newmarket.

"The effects of, in my dad's case, of Alzheimer's are truly something I wouldn't want anybody else to go through, I do understand that different people see Alzheimer's in different ways depending on how it affects their loved one.

"In my dad's case he was a professional man, with a brilliant memory.

"When Alzheimer's came on he lost all his inhibitions, his memory, started to get frustrated, and although we recognised him as dad and I could have a conversation with him, clearly you noticed the decline."

Alzheimer's Research UK has now launched a petition calling on the government to make good on its promise to double funding for dementia research.

Last year, the government announced it would spend 160 million pounds a year - describing it as "the largest boost to dementia research ever." 

But the charity says it hasn't heard any detail since.

The charity, which is based in Cambridge, says a third of dementia research projects have been stopped or halted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It fears losing years of progress in research and delaying treatments.

Anne Hall with her family Credit: Family photograph

James Hall from Soham in Cambridgeshire lost mum Anne last November, who had dementia for many years.

He wants countries to take the same approach for dementia as they have done for Covid.

"With the Covid pandemic we've seen what happens when countries unite, you have unlimited funding for scientists and look how quickly we can get a vaccine for that so if that can be done for Covid why can't it be done for dementia?

"The more funding we get, the more scientists we can get on the case and hopefully find a cure to this disease so people don't have to go through the same as me and my sister, my dad, the rest of the family."

What is Alzheimer's and what are the early signs of the disease?

According to the Alzheimer's society, Alzheimer's is a physical disease that affects the brain.

Almost a million people in the UK currently have dementia and one in three develop the condition in their lifetime.

What are the symptoms and what are the early signs of Alzheimer's?

The NHS says the symptoms of Alzheimer's can be broken into three stages, early, middle and late.

The earliest symptoms of Alzheimer's are:

  • Forgetting recent conversations or events

  • Misplacing items

  • Forgetting the names of places and objects

  • Having trouble thinking of the right word

  • Asking the same question repeatedly

  • Showing poor judgment or finding it harder to make decisions

  • Becoming less flexible and more hesitant to try new things

The NHS also says there are often signs of mood changes, anxiety, agitation or periods of confusion.