Defeating dementia: the road to 2025
Launched in December 2018, the WDC produced a five-year progress report to focus on the international community’s work towards the 2025 dementia goals. These goals are focused around four key areas: a disease-modifying therapy, living well, care, and reducing the impact of dementia. The report provides a review of what has happened in each area – what advances have been made, where activity has lagged, and what action the international community needs to take to accelerate progress.
A disease-modifying therapy
One hundred and twelve years after Alois Alzheimer gave his famous lecture on “an unusual disease of the cerebral cortex”, dementia remains a disease that cannot be prevented or effectively treated. A key commitment made by the G8 summit was to find a disease-modifying therapy by 2025. The international community has stepped up to the challenge.
Dementia awareness is an essential first step in the creation of successful strategies for greater understanding of the disease, to better care and quality of life, and ultimately to lessening the stigma associated with it. And at the most basic level, without knowledge and understanding about dementia – among governments, policy makers, scientists, health care professionals, and the general public – there is no impetus to take action.
While there has been significant progress in biomedical research, millions of people globally will continue to need care throughout the progression of the disease without effective treatments. And even if clinical breakthroughs are made, millions of people living with dementia are still likely to need care at some point.
Reducing the impact of dementia
The best approach to dealing with dementia is not having to deal with it at all. We now know – in a way we did not at the time of the G8 summit in 2013 – that individuals can take steps to reduce their risk of cognitive decline, and a growing body of evidence shows great progress in understanding ways in which individuals may be able to reduce their risk of dementia.
The London dementia summit in 2013 hosted by the UK Government during its G8 presidency put dementia on the international agenda and galvanised international efforts to combat dementia, not just among governmental organizations but beyond. Since then the international community has made progress towards meeting the 2025 ambitions. There have been important developments. But international decision makers risk not realizing the 2025 ambitions unless the pace of progress is stepped up.
December 2018 marked the fifth anniversary of the London summit. Throughout 2018 the World Dementia Council reviewed what has happened since the 2013 summit in these key areas and identifying key actions needed to accelerate progress. The council has been working with experts and industry, academia and governments to build consensus on what actions are needed. The review focussed on four areas where progress can make a significant difference to people living with dementia, today and in the future.