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Rise of dementia.

THIS week has brought into sharp focus the issue of dementia and Alzheimer's.

Diseases which are becoming more common in an ageing population - robbing people of their personalities and their loved ones of their relative.

The debate on how to deal with the increase has been widened with impassioned pleas from high-profile sufferers such as Sir Terry Pratchett campaigning for assisted dying.

Earlier this week he said: "For someone with a serious, incurable and debilitating disease to elect for a medicallyassisted death by appointment seems to me to be a reasonable and sensible decision".

It is something every family has or is likely to confront in the future.

Drugs have been developed to slow dementia but as yet there is no cure with research heavily reliant on charitable donations.

Sir Terry Pratchett's and others' intervention has helped, at long last, promote debate as to what can be done.

On this page Andrew Crowe tells of his grandmother Edith's illness as he prepares to climb Ben Nevis to raise funds to find a cure for others.

There are many more families in the same position and it is time to work more effectively to help them or we could be facing a social catastrophe.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 5, 2010
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