Plea ahead of G8 dementia summit

World leaders who will gather for the first ever G8 dementia summit this week have been urged by leading charities to take "concerted sustained action" to tackle the condition.

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Prime Minister David Cameron has previously said that tackling dementia is a "personal priority" of his

World leaders who will gather for the first ever G8 dementia summit this week have been urged by leading charities to take "concerted sustained action" to tackle the condition.

Those attending the summit must commit to driving forward research, the Alzheimer's Society, Alzheimer's Research UK and Alzheimer's Disease International said.

The charities said that research has "transformed" the lives of people living with heart disease, cancer, HIV and Aids, adding: "Now is the time to make dementia a priority."

The comments come ahead of the first ever summit for leading industrialised nations on dementia - which will be hosted in London next week.

Prime Minister David Cameron said he wanted to use Britain's presidency of the G8 to encourage an international drive to tackle dementia.

Delegates at the summit will discuss looking for effective therapies and new research as well as efforts to slow the impact of dementia.

In a letter printed in the Daily Telegraph, the charities said: " The G8 Summit on dementia research in London on 11 December is a unique opportunity for international leaders to tackle dementia on a global scale.

"It will take concerted and sustained action from world leaders to tackle dementia. They must; commit to meaningful, shared steps to drive forward dementia research, agree to a collaborative global action plan, and make significant investment in dementia research to attract, develop and retain the best scientists, clinicians and care professionals.

"Research has transformed the lives of millions living with heart disease, stroke, HIV/Aids and cancer. Now is the time to make dementia a priority.

"Working together, Governments, the research community, non-profit organisations and industry need to make plans made at the summit a reality. We ask the UK government to be part of that and commit to increased investment and improved coordination in research that will transform the lives of people with dementia across the globe."

Mr Cameron, who has previously said that tackling the condition is a "personal priority" of his, announced a UK plan on research, care and awareness last year. He has also said that funding on dementia research will increase to around £66 million by 2015.

Dementia is a syndrome associated with an ongoing decline of the brain and its abilities. Current estimates suggest 35.6 million people around the world are living with dementia, including around 800,000 in the UK.

But because of an ageing population, the World Health Organisation has estimated that that number could reach 115.4 million in 2050. In the UK alone, there are likely to be nearly a million people with the condition by the end of 2020, experts have predicted.