The front page headline in the Guardian 27.4.23: ‘UK ‘close to new era of dementia treatment’ caused me raised eyebrows – and reading the full article on page 10 left me with a rueful, sad smile. UK on verge of new dawn for dementia treatments, says taskforce chair | Dementia | The Guardian
The quote is from Hilary Evans who is CEO of Alzheimer’s Research UK and recently appointed co-chair of the government’s new dementia mission. She is the wife of Conservative MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, Dan Poulter.
Her co-chair is Professor Nadeem Sarwar of Eisai.
Their dementia mission is the mission set in motion by Dame Barbara Windsor: Sector leaders to drive progress on national Dame Barbara Windsor Mission to beat dementia - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Given their pedigrees, it is not surprising that they see a transforming future based on drug therapy created by the pharmaceutical industry. Lecanemab ‘developed by Eisai and Biogen’ is the substance cited in the article written by Hannah Devlin.
They are allowed their rose-tinted spectacles – but let us reflect that very little of use has emerged from the international multi-billion investment in researches of this nature since the 1990s.
False hope and more money down the drain is a cruel way to treat the world, and in particular the individuals and families who are directly affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia.
This does seem to be a narrow viewed ‘mission’ – a ‘government mission’ at that. The mission we need is one drawing on real and realisable improvements – in terms of education and finance for healthier life-style which make it less likely that we will develop dementia, and education and finance for better lives for those who do experience dementia, and their families and carers who travel with them. It could be done.