The Alzheimer’s Association today called on the House of Representatives to provide $40 million in additional funding this year to the National Institutes of Health NIH) to support large-scale clinical trials for treatments that would slow or delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Susie and Don Means of Massillon, OH, testified on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Association at the U.S. House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education of the House Committee on Appropriations in Washington, D.C., to share their personal experiences with Alzheimer’s disease.
Seated beside Don, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease at the age of 58 in 2000, Susie emphasized the need to find treatments to slow or halt the onset and progression of the disease as she related how her family has coped with the changes in their lives brought on by Alzheimer’s disease.
“On behalf of my entire family and the nearly 14,000 other Alzheimer’s families in eastern Ohio, we are asking you to commit an additional $40 million in Alzheimer research funding this year for clinical trials to identify treatments that can slow or halt the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease,” she said. “From our involvement with the Alzheimer's Association, we know significant advances in medical research have resulted in new and promising treatments and we have many reasons to believe that a world without Alzheimer's disease is within reach. We cannot afford to back down now and ask that you stay the course and maintain your commitment to fund promising research.”
The $40 million appropriation request is in addition to the $679 million now allocated by the NIH to all forms of Alzheimer research. The Alzheimer’s Association has a goal of $1 billion in federal funding for Alzheimer research.
“ We are grateful for the money you have generously allocated to the National Institutes of Health for Alzheimer research,” Means said. “The last few months have been very difficult. Don's Alzheimer's is progressing and the Alzheimer drugs he's taken since his diagnosis are not working as well as they once did. We have some samples of the newest Alzheimer drug but we do not know what we'll do when the samples run out in a few months.”
“Today, approximately 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and by the year 2030, when the entire baby boomer generation will be over the age of 65 (the age when people will become increasingly at risk for Alzheimer’s disease), that number will skyrocket to 7.7 million,” said Sheldon Goldberg, president and CEO of the Chicago-based Alzheimer’s Association. “Within that time period – in approximately 10 years - Medicare spending on people with Alzheimer’s disease will increase by almost 55 percent to $50 billion annually. Medicaid expenditures will rise by almost 80 percent to $33 billion annually. These facts should say to Americans of all ages: We must do something about Alzheimer’s disease before it overwhelms our health care system, our families, and our communities. Now.”