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The Urgent Plan to Fight Alzheimer’s Disease
As many as 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and that number is likely to double in the coming years. Most alarming is that a recent report says that African Americans and Hispanics are two times as likely than whites to get Alzheimer’s and dementia. At the same time, millions of American families struggle with the physical, emotional and financial costs of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.
The major initiatives announced include:
- Research – Funding of new research projects by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will focus on key areas in which emerging technologies and new approaches in clinical testing now allow for a more comprehensive assessment of the disease. Specifically, two major clinical trials are being funded. One is a $7.9 million effort to test an insulin nasal spray for treating Alzheimer’s disease. A second study, toward which NIH is contributing $16 million, is the first prevention trial in people at the highest risk for the disease.
- Tools for Clinicians – The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded $2 million in funding through its geriatric education centers to provide high-quality training for doctors, nurses, and other health care providers on recognizing the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and how to manage the disease.
- Easier access to information to support caregivers–HHS’ new website, www.alzheimers.gov, offers resources and support to those facing Alzheimer’s disease and their friends and family. The site is a gateway to reliable, comprehensive information from federal, state, and private organizations on a range of topics. Visitors to the site will find plain language information and tools to identify local resources that can help with the challenges of daily living, emotional needs, and financial issues related to dementia. Video interviews with real family caregivers explain why information is key to successful caregiving, in their own words.
- Awareness campaign – A brand new website was debuted and a media campaign will be launched this summer, reaching family members and patients in need of information on Alzheimer’s disease.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently unveiled a national plan to fight Alzheimer’s disease. The plan was called for in the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA), which President Obama signed into law in January 2011. The National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease has five goals, including the development of effective prevention and treatment approaches for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias by 2025.
If you or someone you know is a caregiver or family member of someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia– click this link for more resources.