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Dementia: One of the World’s Greatest Challenges

The Longitude Prize 2014

The Longitude Prize

Today the voting for the Longitude Prize closes. The Longitude Prize is a science and technology prize that seeks to find a solution to one of society’s greatest challenges and offers a £10 million award to help achieve that. 6 issues of our time have been short listed as worthy contenders and dementia numbers among them (alongside anti-biotics, flight, water, paralysis and food). All significant problems of course.

The general public have been invited to vote for the challenge that they feel is most appropriate to be the focus of this year’s prize. That vote ends today at 7.10pm. The science and technology community will then be invited to submit their ideas for a solution to the challenge.

Finding a Solution for Dementia

The fact that dementia has even been short listed is very encouraging and demonstrates the severity of the problem. The brief for the Longitude Prize is not a medical one; it’s not about finding a cure for dementia but rather to “develop intelligent, yet affordable technologies that revolutionise care for people with dementia enabling them to live truly independent lives.”

One of Stephen Bradbury’s (MD of MonitorGo) motivations for the development of the MonitorGo device was to find something that allowed dementia sufferers to wander ‘safely’, ie something that allowed them to be located easily but that didn’t confine them to the house: he found, with his own father who suffered from Alzheimer’s, that part of the early stage of the condition can be a need to roam. Any solution that helps dementia sufferers live more independently and manage their condition would therefore be greatly welcomed.

The winning challenge will be announced this evening, and there is still a short time in which to vote. We would of course support any of the 6 identified but we can’t deny a special, personal interest in the dementia challenge – we will be watching with interest!

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Posted in Blog Sarah Ainslie