Let me start by saying that I make no apology for returning to a theme discussed elsewhere in my posts over the past year! Neither is this a political commentary. It is about fact and reality, passionately stated on behalf of our caregivers and their loved ones who are entrusted to our care.
Every now and then I cast my eyes beyond our memory care center at 117 William Hilton Parkway and report on issues relevant to Memory Matters . Those of us whose families have been touched by the insidious disease carefully follow the statistics published by the Alzheimer’s Association and read every update from the pharmaceutical companies that are developing new products to attempt to cure the disease. Sadly none has yet been successful.
America is blessed with many first class research scientists including Dr. Rudolph Tanzi who has made huge contributions already. Dr. Tanzi co-discovered three of the first Alzheimer’s disease (AD) genes and has identified several others in the Alzheimer’s Genome Project, which he directs. He also discovered the Wilson’s disease gene and participated in the discovery of several other neurological disease genes. Most recently, he has used AD genes to create a three- dimensional human stem cell-derived neural culture system that recapitulates AD plaque and tangle pathology. Using this system, Dr. Tanzi is also developing therapeutics for AD including gamma secretase modulators and metal chaperones to lower beta-amyloid and tangle burden in the brain.
All of the above and more requires huge sums of research dollars. Fortunately the US Government came to a new budget agreement this week for the balance of 2017 and despite some efforts to cut the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget, they were given an additional $2 billion funding over the next five months. The NIH additional funding bump includes an extra $400 million to research Alzheimer’s disease. It also boosts spending on two of former President Barack Obama’s big science projects including the BRAIN Initiative, which will get an extra $110 million to support work mapping the human brain.
There are some things we should never forget and they need to be constantly repeated so that the Alzheimer’s Association message is not diluted. We must ensure that politicians of all persuasions hear and read about the indisputable facts surrounding Alzheimer’s disease. So let me again quote from the Alzheimer’s Association:
“Alzheimer’s is the only leading cause of death that cannot be prevented, slowed or cured, and leading independent researchers have determined it has become the nation’s most expensive disease, with costs for this year alone projected to be $259 billion. In 2016, for every $100 the U.S. government spent on Alzheimer’s research it spent $16,000 in Medicare and Medicaid costs caring for individuals living with this fatal disease. Now the $400 million increase has been signed into law this week, Alzheimer’s research funding at the NIH will be nearly $1.4 billion. Leading experts have said this FY2017 increase was needed to remain on track to meet the first goal of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s — to effectively treat and prevent Alzheimer’s by 2025”.
In conclusion, even though there is as yet there is no cure, progress has been made and I hope and pray for a cure in my generation’s lifetime. Whenever you have the chance please let your political representatives know just how important it is to maintain research funding going forward, in real terms.
Thank you for reading my blogs and sharing them. I started this process a year ago and have enjoyed writing about the many positive changes and happenings at Memory Matters. In its 20th Anniversary year the organization continues to support the Lowcountry community with innovative Brain Wellness and Memory Care initiatives.
Please watch this space!
Please share this if you believe it would help someone. Call 1 843 842 6688 Memory Matters office for more information. It’s always confidential. We offer memory screening too. We are a phone call away here in your local community.