USAgainst Alzheimer’s Campaign Rolls Out Today

(Editor’s Note: USAgainstAlzheimer’s launched its official campaign to end Alzheimer’s by 2020 today. I’m sharing the press release about the campaign and this morning’s press conference, below. Look for more about the campaign from me tomorrow.)

USAgainstAlzheimer’s ( ), a new campaign to mobilize Americans to stop Alzheimer’s by 2020, released the results of a new national poll showing that 88 percent of registered voters say it is important for Congress to make Alzheimer’s a priority, even with a growing budget deficit.  A stunning 77 percent of Americans polled say they have been touched by Alzheimer’s.  In the face of this growing crisis, 215 Members of Congress, including 56 Senators and 159 Representatives have cosponsored legislation in the  111th Congress to increase Alzheimer’s funding and adopt a National Strategy to stop the disease, including the Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act (H.R. 3286, S. 1492) and the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (H.R. 4689, S. 3036).

USAgainstAlzheimer’s held a briefing in Washington, DC, today and urged lawmakers to commit additional research funding as part of a disciplined strategy to stop Alzheimer’s by 2020.

Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (Ret.), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) were on hand to emphasize the importance of Congress addressing this threat in a bipartisan manner and funding a strategy to stop Alzheimer’s by 2020.

Nobel Prize winner Stan Prusiner spoke of the opportunities to end Alzheimer’s.  Nearly 150 of the nation’s leading researchers believe that Alzheimer’s can be stopped by 2020 provided that the effort is backed by sufficient funding and pursued with an appropriate, disciplined National Strategy.

Senator Collins and Senator Klobuchar emphasized their commitment to championing Alzheimer’s disease in the Senate.

“Millions of families are coping with the challenges and costs of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Klobuchar.  “Just as our nation has adopted public policies to help families with child care responsibilities, we now need policies to help families with their elder care responsibilities.”

“Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease that takes a tremendous emotional and economic toll on individuals and their families,” Collins said. “While there have been promising advances in research and treatment to combat this disease, our nation needs a more effective, coordinated national strategy aimed at preventing, delaying and finding a cure for Alzheimer’s.”

“Having such strong champions in the Senate greatly improves the chances of American voters being heard – of passing meaningful legislation in the fight against Alzheimer’s.  We are fortunate to have these dynamic, vocal public servants who understand the importance of stopping this devastating disease,” said George Vradenburg, Chairman of USAgainstAlzheimer’s.

With the first wave of baby boomers turning 65 on January 1, 2011, it is expected that 10 million of the nation’s 78 million baby boomers will die of Alzheimer’s unless stopped.  Over the next 10 years, $2 trillion will be spent caring for those with Alzheimer’s while the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will invest only $5 billion in research.  USAgainstAlzheimer’s gives a voice to the millions of Americans affected by Alzheimer’s who are calling for Congress to dedicate more focus and resources to eradicate this devastating disease.

In addition to Alzheimer’s impact on baby boomers, it disproportionately impacts women and minorities.  Women are more likely to get the disease and become caregivers for those with the disease. African-Americans are about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s, and Hispanics are about 1.5 times more likely to develop the disease than are Caucasians for reasons not yet understood.  Devoting more resources to research will help scientists understand the factors contributing to these disparities and also develop solutions to reduce them.

USAgainstAlzheimer’s released the results of a national poll it sponsored of 867 registered voters to ascertain public attitudes on Alzheimer’s disease.  The bipartisan poll was conducted in coordination with the Mellman Group and Ayres McHenry & Associates from September 30 through October 4, 2010.

Key findings indicate that a majority of Americans (88 percent) feel it is personally important that Congress provide funding for research to stop Alzheimer’s.  Furthermore, two-thirds of Americans prefer to vote for a candidate who supports Alzheimer’s funding. A staggering 77 percent of voters have been touched by Alzheimer’s, either in their own family or through someone they know.  Even in today’s challenging economic climate, when presented with two arguments, one opposing funding increases and one favoring increases, registered voters – by a 30-point margin – continue to support increased investment to stop Alzheimer’s by 2020.

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About Denise

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

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Everyone from policy makers to physicians to citizens should read Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy’s “The Alzheimer’s Action Plan.” He and co-author social worker Lisa Gwyther run Duke University’s Alzheimer’s research and treatment program. Much to learn and many misconceptions to cast aside between in these pages.