Fourteen Million People Need Your Help

By Kevin Woo Special to Alzheimer’s Speaks | February 9, 2013

Did you hear the “big” news this week?  A “new” study published in the journal, Neurology, estimates that by the year 2050 nearly 14 million people will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and the costs associated with taking care of those patients will likely exceed $1 trillion (give or take a trillion or two, right?).

This is news?  Anyone who has studied the disease, at even the most elementary level, knows the numbers.  And they know the consequences.  Let’s get real, the “study” wasn’t news. The grim statistics have been around for years.

Fourteen million is a hard number to grasp so let’s put it into perspective.  Fourteen million people is roughly the combined population of Illinois and New Mexico.  Can you imagine every man, woman and child in Illinois and New Mexico having Alzheimer’s Disease or another form of dementia?

Think about it.

Want more perspective?  The federal government spends $6 billion on cancer research and $3 billion to research HIV. The government also spends $1.8 billion on drug and alcohol addiction, prevention, treatment, education and research programs.  And the amount of funding for Alzheimer’s research?  Approximately $500 million.

I’m not suggesting that cancer research, HIV or drug and alcohol prevention and treatment aren’t important.  They certainly are.  But $500 million for Alzheimer’s research is hardly sufficient when the consequences are so high.

Think about it – if the Federal government were able to somehow know thirty-seven years in advance that every man, woman and child in Illinois and New Mexico would have a horrible disease would it step up and provide more funding for research?

The trouble with that question is they do know.  They know it now, they’ll know it tomorrow and they’ll know it next year.  Will they do anything to boost spending for Alzheimer’s research?

Let’s hope they think about it.

You can contact your members of Congress with the help of USAgainstAlzheimer’s.

Ask your members of Congress to work out a deal that protects critical research funding. Keep the pressure on now, before any deal is made.

3 Replies to “Fourteen Million People Need Your Help”

  1. Well said–the statistics are staggering, and when you consider the costs of memory care in assisted living facilities and skilled nursing care, it’s beyond surprising that government funding for research amounts to as little as it does. It’s great that assisted living facilities provide excellent care, but the answer lies in stopping the disease before it starts.

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