Mohamed and Hosna Kamruzzaman shared a wealth of memories, from moving from their home in Bangladesh in the 1960s, to starting a new life in England.
They worked alongside each other in the family’s accountancy business and together raised a daughter.
By 2015, the couple also shared the disease that would slowly eat away at their common memories. In 2017 Mohamed lost his battle with the disease.
Their daughter Shaheen Larrieux, 55, says early detection of dementia could have allowed her to understand their condition better, and help her parents live with it.
Shaheen said: “The route to diagnosis can take a very long time, which makes it hard to know that actually you’re dealing with a brain disease, and that the person is not deliberately doing some of the things that they’re doing.”
Dementia affects over 50 million people around the world, with the number of sufferers set to treble in the next 30 years.
There is currently no way to prevent, treat or cure the underlying causes.
Now the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK has partnered with global leaders including Bill Gates, to advance its Early Detection of Neurodegenerative diseases (EDoN) initiative.
It aims to radically improve the detection of diseases that cause dementia, hoping to raise £67 million in the first six years of the project.
The plan is to develop and use apps and smart devices to collect health data and measure behavioural changes that emerge years before noticeable symptoms, like memory loss.
It is hoped subtle changes in sleep, gait, eye movements, speech patterns and mood, which can occur in the very early stages of the diseases that cause dementia, will be detected by the devices.
Former Prime Minister David Cameron is president of Alzheimer’s Research UK. He told Sky News that early detection is “a critical missing piece of the puzzle” when it comes to developing effective treatments.
“As you start to lose your memory, all sorts of things from taking a bus, going to a cashpoint, to going to the shops become more difficult.
“We’ve got to try to build a country where we’re more friendly and helpful to those people who are beginning to get those impairments.”
Mr Cameron warned that not only does dementia cause harm and heartbreak to families, it is “completely unsustainable for our health and social care systems”.
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