NIH Holds Alzheimer’s Summit

Posted by Accutech on May 31, 2012 10:09 am

On May 14th and 15th the National Institute of Health conducted its Alzheimer’s Disease Research Summit for 2012. It was held to cement the Obama administration's National Alzheimer’s Project Act which pledges to source methods of prevention and treatment by 2025.

"Today, we've made the first historic investment in funds and a 15-year commitment to prevention and treatment," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on May 15.

Researchers need "to figure out exactly where is the best window of opportunity" for battling Alzheimer's, National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins said at the summit.

An insulin nasal spray study which is a promising therapy was given funding of $8 million in funding as well as $16 million in funding for research into amyloid plaque treatments. Amyloid plaque is found in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers and linked to the disease. The government will also begin offering training to doctors and other health providers on the best ways to care for patients and their families.

The race is heating up as there are already over 5 million people in the US who have Alzheimer’s or other related dementias. Unless a breakthrough is reached that number will climb close to 16 million by 2050.

The disease can be at work killing off brain cells for ten years or more before symptoms appear so the challenge is to stave off the disease before it becomes debilitating. This means research into prevention as well as treatment.

Compounding the suffering for patients and their families it has the potential to severely impact the budgets of Medicare, Medicaid and already burdened families.

"[Alzheimer's] is going to be a driver not just of health issues, but a driver of our ability to control our national deficits and debt," said George Vradenburg, chairman of USAgainstAlzheimer's, a national advocacy network.

The summit marks a line in the sand for American science and medicine to meet Alzheimer’s disease head on with a concrete and united plan. It holds the future of millions of Americans and their future in its grasp and success is not only desired it has become imperative.

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