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VOICE OF THE DAILY Mirror: Taking on Dementia.

DEMENTIA is a deeply distressing disease as victims gradually lose their memory and forget their nearest and dearest.

Heartbroken families are victims too, enduring the decline of loved ones who become so confused that wives no longer recognise husbands, fathers stop remembering sons.

The sad, tragic decline of once bright, witty, active people is to watch an agonising personality change that is cruel beyond imagination.

So it's time the hidden epidemic was publicly recognised as a huge medical and social challenge that deserves to be tackled seriously.

The number afflicted is predicted to double within a generation from the current 700,000 - the cost to Britain rising to pounds 50 billion.

The pounds 150 million allocated to be spent on a "memory clinic" in every town and improved training for doctors must only be the start.

Early diagnosis and specialised advisers can improve the lives of sufferers and their families. Care is patchy and a postcode lottery, the stigma and stress of dementia adding to the burden of patients and relatives.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson promised yesterday that all that will change. We hope he's true to his word.
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Title Annotation:Leaders
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 4, 2009
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