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In the UK over 800,000 older people have dementia, which leads to social exclusion, loss of identity and loss of independence, due to both deterioration in cognition and activities of daily living, stigma and the reduced capacity for social participation. In this way, dementia challenges society and the individuals and their carers responding to it.

Health Ministers met at the G8 Dementia Summit in London in 2013 to discuss how to shape an effective international response to dementia, acknowledging the on-going work occurring globally, to identify dementia as a major disease burden and to address issues related to ageing and mental health. Among the agreements at the summit was a commitment to call for greater innovation, identify a disease-modifying therapy by 2025 and develop cross sector partnerships investing in social impact research.

At this summit the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) announced that, along with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) it was awarding £20 million to six research projects that will significantly add to the understanding of dementia. The research will look at how to better prevent dementia, and improve the quality of life of those with dementia, and their carers. Furthermore, The Prime Minister's Challenge on Dementia 2020 has raised the interest on non-pharmacological interventions for the care of people with dementia.