SNP President Ian Hudghton MEP has today (Wednesday) welcomed proposals from the European Commission to coordinate action across the EU aimed at tackling Alzheimer's disease, dementia and other degenerative neurological conditions.

The EU initiative seeks to improve early diagnosis of dementia, coordinate research throughout Europe, encourage the exchange of best practice and provide a forum to reflect on the rights of patients.

The proposals come less than two months after the Scottish Government announcement of a national dementia strategy. Mr Hudghton commented:

"Dementia is a huge issue throughout Europe affecting millions of individuals and families. There are an estimated seven million people across the EU with dementia, some 70,000 in Scotland - and these figures are expected to rise in the future.

"The EU's proposals place dementia at the centre of European health programmes. Through joint initiatives the member countries of the EU will be able to coordinate action to improve research into degenerative conditions whilst ensuring hope and dignity to those who already have dementia.

"The Commission has expressly recognised Scotland as one of a handful of countries to have already embarked upon a national dementia strategy. Scotland also has world-class research facilities and has much to contribute to wider European and global efforts to find effective preventions, diagnosis and treatments.

"The work already undertaken in Scotland will fit nicely into the proposals of the EU and together we will be more able to better understand and help prevent Alzheimer's and other degenerative conditions".

Notes:

Details of the Commission's proposals are available at http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/09/1171&type=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

The Scottish Government announced Scotland's dementia strategy on 28th May 2009.

The Dementia Research Network for Scotland, bringing together academics and clinicians, was launched in August 2008 with £1 million from the Scottish Government.

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