The Obama Administration announced yesterday a $130 million increase over two years in the funding for Alzheimer’s Disease research, as well as $26 million of additional funding for support of caregivers and other programs toward the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s.
These programs are called for in the preliminary National Alzheimer’s Disease Plan being developed under the National Alzheimer’s Project Act that President Obama signed in January, 2011, which sets the overall goal of finding ways to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s by 2025.
The new funding includes an immediate increase of $50 million in funding of Alzheimer’s research this year, which the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will immediately allocate from its fiscal year 2012 funding. The NIH investments will include genetic research to identify genes that increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as testing of therapies for individuals at the highest risk for the disease.
In addition, the President’s fiscal year 2013 budget will include $80 million in new Alzheimer’s research funding. Together, the new investments in Alzheimer’s research funding over two years will total $130 million, more than a 25 percent increase over current annual Alzheimer’s research funding.
The Administration also announced yesterday an increase of $26 million in funding for caregiver support and other programs toward additional goals in the preliminary National Alzheimer’s Disease Plan. A preliminary draft of the Plan identifies several high-priority goals which will be supported by the increased funding, including:
- “Expanded support for Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers in the community;
- Education and outreach to improve the public’s understanding of Alzheimer’s disease starting this year;
- Outreach to enhance health care providers’ knowledge of the disease; and
- Improved data collection and analysis to better understand Alzheimer’s disease’s impact on people with the disease, families and the health care system.”
These and other key goals have been identified in the preliminary National Alzheimer’s Disease Plan, toward the Plan’s overall target of preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease by 2025.
The National Alzheimer’s Disease Plan is being developed by an Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services, which was established by the National Alzheimer’s Project Act that President Obama signed in January. The Advisory Council includes and draws upon professionals identified as among the Nation’s foremost experts on Alzheimer’s disease. The Plan is expected to be finalized in the Spring of 2012, with further input from the public.
Meanwhile, the Administration has taken the announced action to start immediately funding the additional Alzheimer’s research and work toward goals identified in the preliminary National Alzheimer’s Disease Plan.
“Today’s announcement reflects this administration’s commitment to confronting Alzheimer’s, a disease that takes a devastating toll on millions of Americans,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement announcing the funding increase on February 7. “We can’t wait to act; reducing the burden of Alzheimer’s disease on patients and their families is an urgent national priority.”
“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,” the Administration said in a news release issued on February 7.
“These projections are simply staggering,” said National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “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.”
In a speech announcing the increase in funding, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius addressed the priority which the Administration is placing on finding a treatment and means of preventing Alzheimer’s, in light of the enormous burden being placed on seniors and caregivers as the increase in cases of Alzheimer’s reaches epidemic proportions, as our population ages.
“This initiative also recognizes that the impact of this disease reaches far and touches many,” she said. “We know that families are at the center of caring for those with this disease. And being a family caregiver is difficult, stressful work. Sons and daughters, spouses and siblings do this hard work out of love and commitment. We want to make sure that those who are helping to care for our most vulnerable citizens have the support they need to maintain their own health and well-being too.”
The News Release issued by HHS about the increase in funding is found on the HHS website.
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