A new report concludes the price tag from Alzheimer's disease will skyrocket over the next 25 years, particularly in Florida, home to the nation's fastest-growing over- 65 and over-85 populations.
The study prompted a new coalition of researchers, health care providers, business leaders and senior advocates to call for an "all-out push" to find a cure.
The new economic study released today documents a near doubling of Florida's costs due to Alzheimer's in the next 25 years, spurred in large part by the aging of Florida's population. An estimated one-tenth of all Alzheimer's patients live in Florida. While Florida's case is the most dramatic, the rest of the nation will experience growing costs, as well. The report was commissioned in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's disease also takes a toll on businesses: Nationally, businesses spend at least $25 billion each year on health care for people with Alzheimer's and rack up $37 billion in lost productivity due to employees with caregiving responsibilities.
"America moves forward when its citizens and leaders set bold agendas and commit ourselves to working together to accomplish ambitious goals. That's how we put a man on the moon," said Dr. Huntington Potter, Ph.D., chief executive officer of the Byrd Alzheimer's Institute. "It's time to make eliminating the scourge of Alzheimer's a pressing, national priority."
Potter and fellow researcher Malcolm Leissring, Ph.D., who heads up the Alzheimer's research lab at The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, said a cure for Alzheimer's is within reach and additional research dollars can hasten the timeline for critical discoveries.
"Policymakers and the public need to know about the tremendous progress we've made toward identifying causes, prevention strategies and even a cure for Alzheimer's disease," Leissring said. "Investment in Alzheimer's research is as promising as it is pressing."
That progress includes identifying genes that correlate with Alzheimer's incidence, which ultimately may lead scientists to new treatments and diagnoses. Byrd Institute researchers also have achieved stunning results in regenerating neurons, which may restore brain functioning in Alzheimer's victims and may also offer significant hope to victims of Lou Gehrig's disease and spinal cord injuries.