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Leading article: Just the start in tackling dementia

It is absolutely right that the Government is to double the spending on research into dementia. The disease is spreading so fast that there will soon be more than a million sufferers in the UK. And treating Alzheimer's, and similar problems, is already costing the NHS £23bn a year – more than cancer, heart disease or strokes.

The problem is that research into dementia will still be severely underfunded. Spending will rise to just £66m by 2015, in comparison with the £590m invested in cancer research and the £169m in heart disease.

Dementia will be the biggest challenge facing our health and care systems in the 21st century. The Government has taken a step in the right direction. But funds for research are still low and, with any progress around effective treatments likely to take years, more must be done in the meantime to manage the care of the increasing numbers of sufferers.