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Alzheimer’s Research Funding

by Nancy Wurtzel

Post image for Alzheimer’s Research Funding

Alzheimer’s Can’t Be Prevented, Cured or Slowed

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., and the only one in the top 10 causes of death that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.

Yet, Alzheimer’s — a disease with the ability to bankrupt nations — is steadily growing, while many others, like heart and some cancers, are on a decline.

AIDS, for example, receives more than $2 billion annually from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  Alzheimer’s, which affects five times as many people as AIDS, is allotted just $586 million.

More NIH Alzheimer’s Funding is Needed

The discrepancy is even more apparent when you consider cancer research, which has been granted $5.4 billion in federal funds in 2015.

In fact, more NIH monies are dedicated to nutrition research than is for Alzheimer’s.  See a complete NIH funding list at this link.

Why is Alzheimer’s funding so disproportionately low?  And, why do lawmakers lack the will to attack the disease in a big way?

More Money Needed for Alzheimer’s Research

  • Diseases affecting young people seem more worthy, therefore attracting more government and private monies.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is not well understood; This lack of clarity results in misinformation, shame and avoidance.
  • Media coverage about Alzheimer’s lacks a sense of urgency and immediacy.
  • Alzheimer’s research has not moved the dial in a significant way, which has led to a collective ‘fatalistic perspective’ that the disease is inevitable and it’s conjecture cannot be altered.

There is some light in the Alzheimer’s tunnel.  This year, Congress will hopefully assign $300 million more for Alzheimer’s research.  This will bring funding almost to the $1 billion mark.

Where is the War on Alzheimer’s Disease?

These additional funds will help launch numerous promising studies and trials that are simply awaiting funding.

Also, early in 2015, the NIH announced the formation of its Accelerating Medicines Partnership, to combat Alzheimer’s and other diseases. The venture represents an “unprecedented” level of cooperation between 10 pharmaceutical companies—including giants like Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, and Johnson & Johnson—as well as several nonprofit groups, NIH, and the Food and Drug Administration.

The dial is beginning to move forward on Alzheimer’s funding, but we have to keep up the pressure on Congress.

A number of nonprofit groups advocate for more research funding and I encourage you to get involved.  As one example, you can learn about The Alzheimer’s Association advocacy programs by visiting this link.

If we make a lot of noise, we can make a difference.

 

*Photo Purchased From iStockPhoto

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