A Cure for Alzheimer’s?

In a time of tight budgets and widespread demand for less government spending, Congress, the White House and a growing number of candidates for president from both parties agree that at least one priority should receive more money – research into the causes and possible cures of Alzheimer’s disease.

In January, Congress and the President signed off on a $350 million funding increase for Alzheimer’s research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – a 60 percent hike pushing the total for research spending over the $900 million mark for the first time.

At the same time, three GOP presidential candidates – Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump- have called for stepped up funding for Alzheimer’s research, and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has laid out a plan to increase funding to $2 billion annually by 2025.

The consensus on the need for new research dollars comes from two increasingly compelling facts – one grim and the other a cause for celebration.

First, the bad news: Alzheimer’s is now the most expensive disease in America, with care for it and other forms of dementia costing more than $226 billion last year. Without a cure, as the population grows older, the bill to families, employers, insurers and the government is going to skyrocket. Over the next 35 years, more than 28 million baby boomers will develop Alzheimer’s, according to research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. Costs associated with care will soar to approximately $20 trillion cumulatively, eating up, by 2040, a quarter of our Medicare spending.

But the grim toll of Alzheimer’s – on our loved ones, friends and our economy – is not the sole reason research funding is growing. The other is hope.

Across the spectrum of research, we are seeing results – advances that let us know that more money —> Read More