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Vol. LXIV, No. 5
March 2, 2012

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‘We Can’t Wait’
New Steps To Fight Alzheimer’s Disease

The Obama administration on Feb. 7 announced new efforts to fight Alzheimer’s disease, including immediately making an additional $50 million available for cutting-edge Alzheimer’s research. In addition, the administration announced that its fiscal year 2013 budget will boost funding for Alzheimer’s research by $80 million. The announcement, made at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., also includes an additional $26 million in caregiver support, provider education, public awareness and improvements in data infrastructure.

“Today’s announcement reflects this administration’s commitment to confronting Alzheimer’s, a disease that takes a devastating toll on millions of Americans,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “We can’t wait to act; reducing the burden of Alzheimer’s disease on patients and their families is an urgent national priority.”

NIH director Dr. Francis Collins, HHS Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee and Meryl Comer, an advocate for AD research and an AD caregiver. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

On hand at the Feb. 7 Alzheimer’s announcement downtown were (from l) NIH director Dr. Francis Collins, HHS Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee, Meryl Comer, an advocate for AD research and an AD caregiver, and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Photos: Ernie Branson

As many as 5.1 million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, which is a progressive, irreversible brain disorder that destroys memory and thinking skills. With the aging of the U.S. population, the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease could more than double by 2050.

“These projections are simply staggering,” said NIH director Dr. Francis Collins. “This new funding will accelerate NIH’s effort to use the power of science to develop new ways of helping people with Alzheimer’s disease and those at risk.”

Together, the fiscal years 2012 and 2013 investments total $130 million in new Alzheimer’s research funding over 2 years—over 25 percent more than the current annual Alzheimer’s research investment.

The additional NIH research funding will support both basic and clinical research. Investments will include research to identify genes that increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and testing therapies in individuals at the highest risk for the disease.

On the clinical side, the funds may be used to expand efforts to move new therapeutic approaches into clinical trials and to develop better databases to assess the nation’s burden of cognitive impairment and dementia. NIHRecord Icon

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