Obama promises $156 million to fight Alzheimer’s, support caregivers

The Obama administration is spending $130 million now through 2013 to fund research into Alzheimer’s disease, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday.

An additional $26 million will be used for caregiver support, provider education, public awareness and improvements in data infrastructure for Alzheimer’s, according to the announcement.

President Obama signed the National Alzheimer’s Project Act last month, which calls for an aggressive and coordinated national Alzheimer’s plan to prevent and treat the disease by 2025. 

“We can’t wait to act. Reducing the burden of Alzheimer’s disease on patients and their families is an urgent national priority,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.

As many as 5.1 million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer’s, a number that could double by 2050, according to HHS.

The $130 million research investment is an increase of more than 25 percent of current Alzheimer’s funding, to be used for both basic and clinical research.

Research will include efforts to identify genes that increase the risk of Alzheimer’s and testing therapies for individuals at the highest risk for the disease. 

On the clinical side, 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, HHS said.

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Topics: Alzheimer's/Dementia