Dementia refers to a set of chronic mental symptoms that affect memory, reasoning, thinking and the ability to perform tasks. It affects over 850,000 people in the United Kingdom where Alzheimer's disease is prevalent.
The joint study by the Alzheimer's Research UK and the Office of Health Economics showed one in three babies born in 2015 will develop dementia in their lifetime - 27 percent male and 37 percent female. Age has been identified as a risk factor in dementia. As life expectancy increases, the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease also increases.
"It's wonderful news that each generation is living longer but it's important to ensure people can enjoy these extra years in good health," said Matthew Norton from Alzheimer's Research UK.
Neuroscientist and Alzheimer's expert Mark Dallas from the University of Reading in Britain stressed the lack of enough funds for dementia research. In recent years, people affected by dementia continue to rise to the level of other life-threatening diseases like cancer. Looking at the numbers, there is only one dementia researcher for every five cancer researchers. The increased figures in potential dementia patients should affect research investment and address the imbalance.
The study findings is a big blow. Millions of people will suffer financial burden if further studies on treatment do not have sufficient funds. In the United States, cancer research receives 10 times more funding than Alzheimer's, which could account to the slow progress of developing a possible treatment for patients. The findings hope to stress the urgent need for sustainable research funding now that the problem is clear and the need for action is much more pressing.
Many non-government groups have started to act to address the problem. In 2013, Alzheimer's Society in the UK created Dementia Friends. This program aims to educate people about the disease, attack the stigma and change the nation's understanding of dementia. In a short time, Dementia Friends has touched millions of lives and helped patients deal with loneliness and social rejection.
"Research has the power to transform lives, and our actions now will help determine the future for children born today," added Norton. As the risk continues to grow, the government should act on a plan on how to deal with the impending health crisis.