HHS Alzheimer's Initiative is a First Step to Ending the Disease, Says American Health Assistance Foundation

  • Press Release
Published on:

CLARKSBURG, MD.—The American Health Assistance Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports research and public information through its Alzheimer's Disease Research program, welcomes today's announcement by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that the Obama Administration will dedicate more resources, in 2012 and beyond, to the fight against Alzheimer's disease.

The Administration will make available an additional $50 million in the Fiscal Year 2012 budget for cutting-edge Alzheimer's research; boost Alzheimer's research funding by another $80 million in the 2013 budget; and provide $26 million in the 2013 budget to support health care system goals in the National Alzheimer's Disease Plan, including support for caregivers.

AHAF President and CEO Stacy Pagos Haller issued the following statement:

“The proposal to provide $130 million more in research funding over the next two years-a 25% increase over current federal funding for Alzheimer's research-is an important step in gathering the national will to defeat Alzheimer's disease. We applaud Secretary Sebelius and NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D. for focusing a much-needed spotlight on the research and healthcare that will help Alzheimer's patients and their loved ones.

However, this is only a beginning step in the investment needed to tackle a disease that accounts for an estimated 17% of the current cost of Medicare. At the present pace, Alzheimer's health care costs have the potential to crush Medicare by 2020. We are headed for enormous personal and fiscal crises unless we provide sufficient investment in research to help defeat this disease, which is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.

We hope that leaders in the Administration and in Congress will do even more to fund research for a disease that is woefully underfunded compared to other life threatening diseases. Alzheimer's disease receives only a fraction of the federal research funds spent on conditions such as heart disease, cancer, or HIV/AIDS.

For many decades, insights into the origins and progression of Alzheimer's disease eluded scientists. Now, thanks to major findings in recent months alone, we appear to be on the verge of milestone scientific discoveries about how Alzheimer's starts and how its effects on the body might be stopped with new treatments. Now is the time to support scientific progress.

When half a million Americans each year will hear the diagnosis, 'You have Alzheimer's disease,' we must invest all possible resources with all possible speed, to stop a disease affecting us all.”

About the American Health Assistance Foundation

The American Health Assistance Foundation (www.ahaf.org) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding cures for age-related degenerative diseases by funding research worldwide under its three programs: Alzheimer's Disease Research, Macular Degeneration Research, and National Glaucoma Research. AHAF has funded $74 million for Alzheimer's disease research. The organization also offers patient and caregiver education and provides the public with information about risk factors, preventive lifestyles, current treatments, coping strategies, and more.

To learn about AHAF-supported research, visit www.ahaf.org/research. For AHAF's disease educational materials, visit www.ahaf.org/ADresources or call 800-437-2423.

Stay connected to breaking research and medical news by signing up for AHAF eAlerts atwww.ahaf.org/news. To follow the American Health Assistance Foundation on Twitter and Facebook visit www.ahaf.org/connect.