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The report, ‘The European Dementia Research Agenda’ finds there is widespread disparity in the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with dementia across Europe.

The lead author of the report, Sally-Marie Bamford, ILC-UK Senior Researcher, argues that research needs to be afforded a greater role in tackling Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The report suggests investment in clinical research and translational research will reap its own rewards and holds the key to improved prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

While some countries are striving forward such as Germany and France, the report found, many EU countries are trailing behind with no specifically targeted dementia research funding and/or national strategies.

The report made possible through an unrestricted grant from Pfizer, summarises the presentations, discussions and ideas which emerged from an expert working group meeting on dementia research held in the European Parliament in November 2010. It also brings together recent research on the scale, cost, national and EU responses to dementia and recent EU initiatives.

Today ILC-UK issued a Call to Action for the European Commission, the European Parliament, EU governments, and wider civil society. Among the 13 recommendations are:

For the European Commission to:
• Prioritise dementia research under Framework Programme 8, given the growing burden and financial, health, social and human cost of dementia across Europe
• Develop a European Charter to increase the participation of people with dementia in clinical trials, share best practice and examine current obstacles

For the Members of the European Parliament to:
• Support the drafting and adoption of a United Nations Convention on the Human Rights of Older People

For Governments of the Member States to:
• Ensure parity in funding for dementia research in line with other chronic diseases and the disease burden
• Ensure the implementation and adequate resourcing of comprehensive national strategies to address all aspects of dementia
• Create national centres of excellence in dementia research

For NGOs, clinicians, industry and academia to:
• Work with professional bodies that represent, regulate and are responsible for the training of GPs and other health care professionals to encourage more Continuing Professional Development in dementia and the exchange of best practice.

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