Sheldon Goldberg, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association issued the following statement today on the legislation to double the funding for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health:
"The Alzheimer's Association applauds the bipartisan move to authorize an increase in NIH funding to $1.4 billion for Alzheimer research, introduced in legislation today by Senators Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) and Christopher S. Bond (R-MO). Representatives Ed Markey (D-MA) and Chris Smith (R-NJ) and others plan to introduce similar legislation in the House of Representatives shortly. The legislation would also provide vital help to caregivers and increase public education about possible prevention of Alzheimer's.
“President Reagan’s legendary sense of hope and optimism were a source of inspiration to people with Alzheimer’s disease – and their families and friends. One of the best ways to honor him would be to increase our national investment in research and give us all further reason to hope for a future without Alzheimer’s.
“Increasing federal spending on Alzheimer’s research to $1 billion or more a year would accelerate the rapid pace of scientific discovery. It would help scientists build on the tremendous progress that has already been made and lead to significant research breakthroughs in the next 10 years.
“Offering support for family caregivers and increasing public awareness of ways to keep our brains healthy is also an important step. Families desperately need help in providing care and are seeking the latest information on what might be done to stave off this disease.
“Today, Alzheimer’s disease is the biggest health threat facing Baby Boomers as they approach retirement. Currently, approximately 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to increase by 70% to 7.7 million by 2030. The cost to Medicare will rise 55 percent to $50 billion a year in less than 10 years, and the cost to Medicaid will soar by 80 percent to $33 billion. The cost to families will increase even more.
“The greatest threat to continued progress is inadequate funding for research. Today, only 15 percent of the grant applications for Alzheimer research can be funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), which manages the largest share of the $680 million NIH spends annually on Alzheimer research. At this rate, progress will slow to a halt and brilliant scientists will be forced into other research fields.
“What greater tribute to President Reagan can there be than to join together to create a world without Alzheimer’s? This legislation for research and caregivers is a major step toward that goal.”