Our opinion Prioritize Alzheimer's research

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Posted: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 11:45 pm | Updated: 11:14 am, Wed Mar 19, 2014.

Supporters of a big funding increase for research into Alzheimer's disease make a compelling case, no matter whether their listeners are moved by compassion or fiscal responsibility.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, the Kansas Republican, is among those pushing for Congress to double funding for this purpose to about $1 billion annually — one-sixth of what is spent on cancer research and one-third of spending on HIV/AIDS.

This sounds like a lot of money until you weigh projections that by 2050, unless we experience advances in research, nearly 14 million Americans will suffer from Alzheimer’s at a cost of more than $1 trillion annually.

Already, a new scientific study puts deaths from the disease at more than 500,000 each year. If confirmed by the government, this would make Alzheimer’s the third most deadly disease in this country after heart disease and cancer.

Rather than play interest groups against each other, Sen. Moran praises the other investments as great examples of how research spending can save lives and money. But he notes that currently for every $270 that Medicare and Medicaid spend caring for people with Alzheimer’s, the government spends just $1 on Alzheimer’s research.

Further, statistics from the National Institute on Aging show that without a commitment to increased funding, a goal of stopping Alzheimer’s within the next 15 years will be missed and the projected annual death toll will soar to more than a million.

Advocates note the research community believes the disease can be stopped with adequate funding. The race is on to understand the underlying causes of the disease and to devise strategies that might delay the onset.

One study cited by Sen. Moran found that a five-year delay in average onset would save $447 billion annually by 2050. Not to mention the heartache of countless families.

We don’t know where the research money should come from, but millions of senior adults and their family members — including thousands here in the Midland Empire — recognize this funding should be a public health priority.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Munchkin posted at 12:41 am on Wed, Mar 19, 2014.

    Munchkin Posts: 4311

    Obamacare will take care of them , it'll kill off all mentally inferiors through rationing. In a quality lives system that is based on outcomes , money will not be spent on them.

    Besides when the military is spraying toxic heavy metals that are a leading cause , what's the point ?

  • smartin posted at 12:36 pm on Wed, Mar 19, 2014.

    smartin Posts: 230

    Why save people from Alzheimers when you can harass smokers in little neighborhood bars? Alzheimers is a terrible condition which deserves research funding. All the money being wasted on illegal lobbying for smoking bans should be spent on helping find cures for Alzheimers!

    Any reason you know of why the Sara Summers Stein editorial is NOT in the online edition today? I hear she attempts to refute the Federal Reserve economic study on the effects of smoking bans.

    Is she now an economist or a scientist, or is she just a cute local girl that pro ban paid to promote their propaganda?

  • smartin posted at 12:37 pm on Wed, Mar 19, 2014.

    smartin Posts: 230



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