Dementia: New cure to slow the condition could come in the next 10 years says doctor


Dr Cara Croft is determined to find a cure for dementia, a condition that statistics say will soon affect one in three people born today. Dr Croft is not alone in thinking dementia is one the biggest health issues facing the UK now and after the pandemic. She is joined by three time Formula 1 World Champion, Sir Jackie Stewart, who set up the charity Race Against Dementia to fight the condition after his wife, Helen, was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in 2014.

Together, and with many other scientists and experts, they are taking the fight and the Formula 1 mentality to dementia.

Dr Croft, one of the leading experts in this fight, explained: “I was awarded this fellowship and with that I’ve assembled a team.

“The idea was that I have five years to assemble these people into my team and have all the resources I need. No other charities are doing that for dementia research.”

Dr Croft’s specific focus regards the role of the tau protein.

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Dr Cara explained further: “What we’re working on is new tools and technologies to study these tau protein clumps over time to try and understand what happens to it over time.

“We’re starting to understand what this tau protein is doing when it clumps and how it does or doesn’t lead to brain cell loss.”

This research is one branch of Race Against Dementia’s research and approach that is one of intensive investment and research as part of injecting a sense of urgency that has been lacking when it comes to dementia.

Dr Croft explained further: “For a long time, it was seen as a normal part of ageing, but we do know that dementia is caused by diseases.


“If we have more awareness that it’s caused by a disease and most other diseases have treatments, then I think that’s what needs to be known to add a sense of urgency”.

Since this is a disease like any other Dr Croft said “we should have a drug to stop it, treat it or prevent it” just as the world has for other diseases such as COVID-19.

So, what are her predictions for the near future of dementia treatment?

On this, Dr Cara and the scientists at the UK Dementia Research Institute were surveyed, and the results were positive.

“Nine in 10 of us think there will be a new cure or treatment to slow or ease dementia, but only if we have this funding”.

Funding, a problem for dementia just as it is for some Formula 1 teams.

To put the issue into context Dr Cara says that for every pound that dementia research gets, cancer gets three.

At a government level, the issue of dementia is not being ignored.

As part of their 2019 manifesto, the Conservative Government promised a Dementia Moonshot where they pledged to double dementia funding, an extra 800 million pounds, over the next decade.

With this backing, combined with the expertise and pace of the likes of Dr Croft and co, the days of dementia ripping apart thousands of families may be coming to an end.

However, this is only if money is pumped into the cause and the momentum is maintained.

Until then, dementia is not going away.

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