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More to suffer from dementia, experts claim

More to suffer from dementia, experts claim
25th March 2008

Government estimates suggest that as many as 1.2 million Brits will suffer from dementia by 2028.

A new study by the Horizon Scanning Unit at the Department of Health shows that twice as many people will live beyond 85 in the next 20 years, with one in four affected by mental diseases.

The research predicts a rise of 70 per cent in the number of patients diagnosed with debilitating illnesses such as Alzheimer's, which rob victims of their memory, speech and motor skills.

The number of sufferers living in care homes is expected to double by 2028, with 40 per cent more aged between 65 and 74, as well as a 50 per cent rise in the number of patients aged 75 to 84.

Professor David Wilkinson, a psychiatric expert, said the "staggering" figures throw into sharp relief the amount spent researching dementia.

For every sufferer in the UK, £11 is currently spent investigating causes and cures, compared to £289 for every cancer patient.

"If someone has cancer you don't wait until it has spread until you start treating it," he told the Telegraph.

"This is a lethal degenerative condition and we should be tackling it from the start."

According to the Alzheimer's Society, 700,000 people currently suffer from dementia. These latest estimates show that this figure could rise by 500,000 over the next two decades.

A report by the charity in November last year found that many dementia patients endure physical and mental neglect, left unattended, unwashed, or abused.

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