Pratchett Calls for Increase in Dementia Research; Author in Makes Plea for More Investment

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Byline: Madeleine Brindley

BEST-SELLING author Sir Terry Pratchett has today called for an increase in Government investment in dementia research to deal with the "worldwide tsunami" of dementia.

The science-fiction author, who suffers from a rare form of Alzheimer's disease, said the "unthinkable is to do nothing at all" as he called for more funding for research despite the current economic climate.

His call for more funding comes after experts predicted the number of people with dementia will almost double every 20 years across the world.

The fact people are living longer than ever before is a major factor driving the increasing incidence of dementia.

Sir Terry said: "We are facing - to use the term said to me by one of the leading US researchers - a worldwide tsunami of Alzheimer's and other dementia diseases.

"Technically I am early onset, but growing older behind me are the baby boomers, made strong and fit as the first generation to grow up in the beneficent arms of the National Health Service.

"Is there going to be a government of any stripe willing to put its money where its mouth is and fund changes? Or will dementia remain the most feared disease of the over-55s?" Experts at King's College London yesterday estimated that the number of people with Alzheimer's will reach 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050.

A total of 35.6 million people will have dementia in 2010, the report said.

It is thought that 37,000 people in Wales and their carers are affected by Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia.

Professor Martin Prince, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, who led the research, said: "While these numbers are staggering, the current investment in research, treatment and care is actually quite disproportionate to the overall impact of the disease on people with dementia, their carers, on health and social care systems, and on society."

Marc Wortmann, executive director of Alzheimer's Disease International, which published the predictions, said: "The crisis of dementia and Alzheimer's can no longer be ignored. …