Maybe we have come to see it as inevitable: senior citizens slide away into mental darkness and death. Now though, after several decades of neglect among public policy makers and private enterprise, dementia is being targeted as a real health problem. Besides the suffering and loss faced by individuals and families, a challenge all of us foresee in our futures, the economic cost of dementia is expected to exceed $1.2 Trillion by 2050. This month several of the globes’ most endowed biotech and pharma companies joined in a $100 million research effort to advance the fight against Alzheimers and dementia. (Biogen Idec, Inc., a rapidly rising biotech enterprise has come to be seen as leader with treatments in advanced clinical testing – some further results expected this week.) Also this week, the United Nation’s WHO (World Health Organization) brought together states and a broad alliance of institutions to systematically target this plague that in theory may challenge every global citizen during their life.
Global Dementia Observatory:
The Dementia Discovery Fund announced by the partnership of private and public enterprises was endorsed by the WHO Chief, Dr. Margret Chan. 80 states joined the two-day conference in Geneva with experts from the research, clinical and advocacy communities discussing how, collectively, they could move forward action on dementia at the global level. WHO said it is committed to leading and coordinating efforts on dementia. It also pledged to establish a Global Dementia Observatory that will monitor disease prevalence and dementia care resources in Member States and track the establishment of national dementia policies and plans. Clear consensus has been identified on the need for coordinated efforts to track evolution of the disease burden, create policies to address the impact of dementia, and conduct research for treatment and improved, cost-effective care. According to Dr. Chan: “We have been running behind the curve with dementia for a long time, but several recent events tell us that we are catching up. We must weave these multiple new initiatives into a comprehensive plan that can work in all countries. Government commitment will be key.” (Read more at WHO’s “Governments Commit to Advancements in Dementia Research & Care.”)