Bill Gates made a big investment to fight Alzheimer's

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Billionaire Bill Gates turns his philanthropic eye toward Alzheimer's disease with a $50 million investment in the United Kingdom -based Dementia Discovery Fund.

Gates' investment in the Dementia Discovery Fund will help support startups as it explores "less mainstream approaches to treating dementia", he explained. However, Gates told Reuters that it will be followed by another personal donation of $50 million to start-up ventures focused on Alzheimer's research.

"The human cost of Alzheimer's is much more hard to put into numbers", Gates wrote on his blog .

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"It's a bad disease that devastates both those who have it and their loved ones", the philanthropist wrote Monday on his blog.

"My personal experience has exposed me to how hopeless it feels when you or a loved one gets the disease", he writes.

Dementia, which Alzheimer's is the most common type, affects almost 50 million people globally and by 2050 it is expected that that over 131 million will be affected.

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It's the first time Gates, one of the richest men in the world, has used his financial punch to take the fight to dementia, and the additional funding will allow the DDF to back more companies and recruit additional personnel-including a chief executive to lead the fund and direct the efforts of its scientific advisory board, drawn mainly from industry. "It's a miracle that people are living so much longer, but longer life expectancies alone are not enough". But of all potential age-related conditions, Alzheimer's poses a "particularly big threat to society", Gates says.

"Gates has invested a great deal of time to better understand the full scope of the disease and how he can play a significant role in accelerating progress", the asociation said in a statement.

Bill Gates wants to help find a cure for Alzheimer's disease. "Once that day comes, our foundation might look at how we can expand access in poor countries", Gates wrote, explaining how he might look at the issue beyond his personal investment in the future.

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Through talking to experts in the field over the past year, Gates said he had identified five areas of need: Understanding better how Alzheimer's unfolds, detecting and diagnosing it earlier, pursuing multiple approaches to trying to halt the disease, making it easier for people to take part in clinical trials of potential new medicines, and using data better. "I'm excited to join the fight and can't wait to see what happens next".

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