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Senate makes bipartisan call for landmark 60 percent increase in Alzheimer's research funding

The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee led by Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today approved a 60 percent increase — approximately $350 million — for Alzheimer's disease research. The Alzheimer's Association applauds the subcommittee for this historic action recognizing the unique triple threat that Alzheimer's disease poses with its soaring prevalence, enormous cost and lack of treatment.

"This bipartisan prioritization of the Alzheimer's crisis by Chairman Blunt and Ranking Member Murray demonstrates that leaders heard the pleas of our advocates and the counsel of scientists to address this devastating and costly disease that has been underfunded for far too long," said Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association. "If this increase becomes law, it will be the largest annual increase in federal Alzheimer's research funding to date and a significant step toward accomplishing the first goal of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease."

The National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease, which was mandated by the National Alzheimer's Project Act signed into law in 2011, has a primary goal to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's by 2025. Currently, Alzheimer's disease receives $586 million a year in federal funding for research. Leading scientists have said it will take a ramp up to $2 billion a year to reach this goal of the national Alzheimer's plan.

An Alzheimer's Association report earlier this year, Changing the Trajectory of Alzheimer's Disease: How a Treatment by 2025 Saves Lives and Dollars, stated that achieving this goal would reduce the number of individuals affected by the disease by 2.5 million people and save the nation $220 billion within the first five years of a treatment being available.

In March, more than 1,000 advocates from all 50 states gathered in the nation's capital for the Alzheimer's Association Advocacy Forum and asked their legislators for increased funding for Alzheimer's research. In addition to their personal experiences, advocates outlined the unique triple threat that Alzheimer's disease poses:

  • More than 5 million Americans and their 15 million unpaid caregivers are affected by Alzheimer's disease.
  • Already the most expensive disease in the country, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, the cost of Alzheimer's to the nation will soar to $1.1 trillion by 2050, threatening family savings and the future of Medicare.
  • Alzheimer's is the only leading cause of death that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.
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