Obama Administration boosts Alzheimers funding

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The Obama Administration announced new efforts to fight Alzheimer’s disease on Feb. 7, including immediately making an additional $50 million available for Alzheimer’s research. In addition, the administration said that its FY 2013 budget will boost funding for Alzheimer’s research by $80 million.

The announcement also included an additional $26 million in caregiver support, provider education, public awareness and improvements in data infrastructure.

In January 2011, President Barack Obama signed the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, which called for an aggressive and coordinated national Alzheimer’s disease plan. The act also established the Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care and Services to inform the development of the national plan. The preliminary framework for the National Alzheimer’s Disease Plan identified key goals including preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease by 2025.

Together, the FY 2012 and 2013 investments total $130 million in new Alzheimer’s research funding over two years–25 percent more than the current annual Alzheimer’s research investment.

The additional National Institute of Health research funding will support both basic and clinical research. Investments will include research to identify genes that increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and testing therapies in individuals at the highest risk for the disease. On the clinical side, the funds may be used to expand efforts to move new therapeutic approaches into clinical trials and to develop better databases to assess the nation’s burden of cognitive impairment and dementia.

The initiative also includes $26 million to support additional goals in the preliminary National Alzheimer’s Disease Plan. While the plan continues to be developed, experts have identified several goals that will be supported by the announcement, including support for caregivers in the community, improving healthcare provider training and raising public awareness.

As many as 5.1 million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. With the aging of the U.S. population, the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease could more than double by 2050.