Guardian crossword labels dementia 'a form of insanity'

Dementia is a condition that causes a gradual decrease in the ability to think and remember

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The Independent Online

The Guardian has apologised after it labelled dementia a “form of insanity”.

This description was given as a clue in the “speedy crossword” earlier this week, where 23 across was the eight letter word dementia. 

Dementia is a brain disease that causes a long term and gradual decrease in the ability to think and remember.  

Readers took to social media to criticise the paper for the clue. One, Christiaan May, said on Twitter: “Whoever writes Guardian crossword needs a little education. Extremely insensitive.” 

The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease and George McNamara, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Society, said those who have it often express concerns over misconceptions of the condition. 

“We were deeply disappointed with the phrasing used in the crossword but appreciated the swift and considerate response from the Guardian, who have assured us they will print a full apology in this Sunday’s Observer,” Mr McNamara said. 

“People affected by dementia often express concern over words and phrases that can contribute to misconceptions about the condition, and it is unacceptable that they should be subjected to such offensive language.  

“At Alzheimer's Society we are constantly striving to educate the media on the use of language to create inclusivity and reduce stigma,” he added. 

A Guardian News & Media spokesperson told The Independent: “We apologise unreservedly”.

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