UK's G8 summit to 'tackle dementia'

Brain There have been no new treatments for dementia since 2003

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The UK will use its presidency of the G8 to hold the first global dementia summit.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt have called on health ministers from the member countries to attend the meeting in London on 11 December.

Mr Hunt described the condition as a global challenge.

Currently there are 35.6 million people worldwide living with dementia. By 2020 the figure will be nearly 70 million.

The total estimated worldwide cost of dementia was $604bn (£386bn) in 2010. About 70% of the costs occur in Western Europe and North America.

But nearly 60% of people with the condition live in developing countries. As their populations grow and age, the pressure on their services and budgets will increase.

Mr Hunt said: "This is a global challenge and one which is set to intensify.

"While we continue to pursue tomorrow's cures, it is critical now more than ever to pay serious attention to what we can do to reduce the average number of years living with the condition.

"The G8 today have a unique chance to come together to help people manage dementia better, lead healthier lives and deliver real improvements in care and substantial economic savings."

Hilary Evans, of Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "Worryingly, there have been no new treatments for dementia since 2003 and those in existence only offer modest efficacy.

"We desperately need new treatments and interventions that can delay the onset, slow the progression and manage the symptoms of dementia.

"Only through increased research can we make progress and offer hope to people with dementia."

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