Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Future of Alzheimer's

“Our government is ignoring what is likely to become the greatest threat to the health of Americans: Alzheimer’s disease, an illness that is 100 percent incurable and 100 percent fatal. It attacks rich and poor, white collar and blue, and women and men, without regard to party.” This quote is from a great article in the New York Times today called “The Age of Alzheimer’s,” written by Sandra Day O’Connor, Stanley Prusiner, and Ken Dychtwald. It is a wonderful overview explaining the increase we will see in Alzheimer’s over the next twenty years, and why we need to increase funding for Alzheimer’s research.

The article points out that for every penny the National Institutes of Health spends on Alzheimer’s research, we spend more than $3.50 on caring for people with Alzheimer’s. As the baby boomers reach 65 years and older, more than 10,000 people per day are at increased risk of Alzheimer’s.

I know in my Mom’s lifetime, there will most likely be nothing that will be found to cure her dementia, but if we start giving more money to research we can create a better future for the potential 13.5 million people who will get Alzheimer’s by 2050. My Mom hopes for a better future for these people than the future she was given.

Mom watched her mother live with and die from Alzheimer’s disease thirty years ago. In those thirty years we have made very little advances in the cure of this disease. I know Mom does not want her children, who genetically have an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, to go through what she is experiencing. She has committed to donating her body to science after she dies so researches can have more of a chance to combat this disease.

An increase in funding requires a mass movement of people demanding that Alzheimer’s research become a priority. It will entail legislation which will increase the annual federal contribution to research, such as the bill which is in front of Congress right now, S 3063: National Alzheimer’s Project Act. For more information on how you can help pass S 3063, go to this page of the Alzheimer’s Association website. You can find out if your member of congress supports the act and find ways to contact him or her.


Rev. Katie

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