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NIH Overstates Alzheimer’s Disease Research Dollars - Amount Adjusted Down

January 16, 2009

NIH Overstates Alzheimer's Disease Research Dollars - Amount Adjusted Down

January 15, 2009 - The National Institutes of Health (NIH) made available today, through the launch of their new computerized reporting system, the actual amounts spent on research of 215 of their disease categories showing less money was spent on Alzheimer's disease research than originally thought. This information further highlights the importance of private donations to fund research into finding a cure for this devastating illness.

The new NIH system revealed $411 million was actually spent in 2007 on Alzheimer's disease research compared to the $645 million the historical calculation method identified. This represents an adjustment of $234 million. Historical data over the preceding three years estimated approximately one third more money going to Alzheimer' disease research than the new NIH reporting method revealed.

In 2005 NIH historical methods of calculation showed $656 million was spent on Alzheimer's disease research and in 2006 it identified $643 million going to Alzheimer's disease research. The result of this new data is that $200 million less was spent on Alzheimer's disease research in 2007 than thought and $200 million less was spent in 2007 and 2008 compared to prior year reporting methods.

When asked about the re-evaluation of historical figures, Dr. Guy Eakin, Director of Research Grants for the BrightFocus Foundation says, “Alzheimer's disease is the 6th most prevalent cause of death in the United States and is growing in prevalence due to the aging demographic of the U.S. population. Even before the government's readjustment of their funding estimates, we have known that Alzheimer's disease research is critically underfunded. This announcement emphasizes the role of charitable organizations like the BrightFocus Foundation in providing absolutely essential funding support to the researchers who will cure this disease.”

At the request of Congress, the NIH embarked on a process to provide better consistency and transparency in the reporting of its funded research. Their new process, implemented through the Research, Condition, and Disease Categorization (RCDC) system, used sophisticated text data mining in conjunction with NIH-wide definitions used to match projects to categories resulting in a noticeable one-time adjustment in the research amounts previously reported due to the significant mythology change.

BrightFocus Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding cures for age-related and degenerative diseases by funding research worldwide on Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration and glaucoma. BrightFocus also provides the public with free information about these diseases, including risk factors, preventative lifestyles, available treatments and coping strategies. In 2008 the BrightFocus Foundation funded 26 new research projects for a total of $5.1 million going to Alzheimer's disease research. Since its inception, the BrightFocus program has granted awards totaling over $60 million. For more information on Alzheimer's disease visit www.brightfocus.org/alzheimers/

View all news updates for Alzheimer's disease

Disclaimer: The information provided in this section is a public service of the BrightFocus Foundation, and should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional, and is not intended to constitute medical advice. Although we take efforts to keep the medical information on our website updated, we cannot guarantee that the information on our website reflects the most up-to-date research. Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice; all medications and supplements should only be taken under medical supervision. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical product or therapy.

Some of the content in this section is adapted from other sources, which are clearly identified within each individual item of information.

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