Native News Network Staff in Native Health. Discussion »
Urgent National Priority
WASHINGTON - As many as 5.1 million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer's disease, which is a progressive, irreversible brain disorder that destroys memory and thinking skills. With the aging of the United States population, the number of people with Alzheimer's disease could more than double by 2050.
The exact number of cases of Alzheimer's disease in the American Indian and Alaska Native population is not known. However, as life expectancy in the Native population increases, the new cases of Alzheimer's disease are expected to increase.
The Obama Administration this week announced new efforts to fight Alzheimer's disease, including immediately making an additional $50 million available for cutting-edge Alzheimer's research. In addition, the administration announced that its Fiscal Year 2013 budget will boost funding for Alzheimer's research by $80 million. Today's announcement also includes an additional $26 million in caregiver support, provider education, public awareness and improvements in data infrastructure.
In January 2011, President Obama signed the National Alzheimer's Project Act, which calls for an aggressive and coordinated national Alzheimer's disease plan. The Act also establishes an Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services, which brings together some of the Nation's foremost experts on Alzheimer's disease to inform the development of the national plan. The preliminary framework for the National Alzheimer's Disease Plan identifies key goals including preventing and treating Alzheimer's disease by 2025. As work on the plan continues, the Obama Administration is taking action.
"Today's announcement reflects this administration's commitment to confronting Alzheimer's, a disease that takes a devastating toll on millions of Americans,"
said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
"We can't wait to act; reducing the burden of Alzheimer's disease on patients and their families is an urgent national priority."
"These projections are simply staggering,"
said National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis S. Collins MD PhD.
"This new funding will accelerate NIH's effort to use the power of science to develop new ways of helping people with Alzheimer's disease and those at risk."
posted February 11, 2012 6:59 am est
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