The biggest Alzheimer’s-fighting budget in history was approved by Democrats and Republicans in Congress and signed by President Trump. Tripling in size since the President stepped into office, it now stands at $2.8 billion. See how America has become a global force in defeating dementia.
Bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress and presidential leadership resulted in a $350 million increase for Alzheimer’s and dementia research funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Signed into law by President Trump, the new 2020 Alzheimer’s research budget for the United States now stands at roughly triple the amount at which it began when President Trump stepped into office.
Longtime Congressional champions instrumental in securing these historic increases include:
- Sen. Patty Murray (Dem.-Washington State)
- Sen. Roy Blunt (Rep.-Missouri)
- Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Dem.-Connecticut)
- Rep. Tom Cole (Rep.-Oklahoma)
- Rep. Joe Neguse (Dem.-Colorado)
B.O.L.D. Alzheimer’s Act
Additionally, the inclusion of $10 million to implement the B.O.L.D. Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act (P.L. 115-406) is an important step toward acknowledging and addressing Alzheimer’s as a widespread public health crisis.
Since the passage of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) and the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act — two laws championed by the Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) — Congressional leaders and U.S. Presidents have made addressing Alzheimer’s a priority. Since the passage of NAPA, the U.S. government dramatically expanded access to Alzheimer’s and dementia care, support services, and research funding.
Bruce Lamb of the University of Indiana School of Medicine in Indianapolis noted the funding exceeds the $2 billion annual budget proposed in 2011, when NAPA (The National Alzheimer’s Project Act) was first passed. The increases under the President have been the biggest in history, anywhere in the world.
Key Findings Have Been Made
The new budget will bring the total NIH allocation to Alzheimer’s & dementia research to $2.8 billion. It is the latest in a recent series of massive boosts to study dementia, including last year’s $425 Million to Alzheimer’s Research.
David Holtzman of Washington University in St. Louis wrote, “Over the last four to five years with increased NIH funding, key findings have been made demonstrating things such as:
- Blood Test: The ability to detect Alzheimer’s-brain pathology with a blood test
- Protein Aggregation: Findings on the role of protein aggregation seeding and spreading
- Immune Response: Key new findings on the role of the brain’s innate immune response on Alzheimer’s progression
- Lymphatic System: The discovery of the brain’s lymphatic system
- Genes: New genes and pathways linked to the disease
- Infections: The potential role of infections and the microbiome in disease.”
Dr. Holtzman added, “I think the increase in funding will capitalize on these findings and get us to needed treatments which are not yet available even faster.”
Eric Reiman of Banner Health, Phoenix, also welcomed the budget increase. He said, “With this continued support, I am personally excited about the chance for the field to:
- Develop and use blood-based biomarkers
- Find faster, less expensive and more informative read-outs in early phase trials
- Continue to accelerate the evaluation of promising drugs and lifestyle interventions in prevention trials.”
Patient & Caregiver Support
The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act will establish Alzheimer’s Centers of Excellence in communities around the country to expand and promote effective Alzheimer’s interventions, and issue funding to state and local public health departments to promote:
- Cognitive health
- Risk reduction
- Early detection and diagnosis
- The needs of caregivers.
Critically, the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act will also increase collection, analysis and timely reporting of data on cognitive decline and caregiving to inform future public health actions.
“These funds are laying the groundwork for much-needed breakthroughs that will help all those affected by this devastating disease,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer’s Association chief public policy officer and AIM executive director. “We are thankful for our dedicated advocates who have passionately driven Congress to act, and for our bipartisan Congressional champions who understand the importance of medical and NIH-driven research,” continued Egge.
Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in the country, costing taxpayers $290 billion in 2019. More than five million Americans currently live with the disease, with an estimated 16 million more providing unpaid care. We owe it to these individuals and to the million more who will be impacted in the coming years, to leave no stone unturned, so we can advance treatments and find a cure for this devastating disease.
Growing Federal Investment Paying Off
George Vradenburg, chairman of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, said,
“This $350 million increase in research funding tells the 5.8 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s and their 16 million caregivers that our nation is committed to stopping this disease.
“The growing federal investment in Alzheimer’s research is paying off. Two new drug therapies are expected to seek regulatory approval in 2020 and scientists have made progress in understanding the causes of this disease, which is critical for the breakthroughs in treatment and prevention that patients, caregivers and families need.”
The new Alzheimer’s budget was a major achievement accomplished by Democrats and Republicans working together. A Presidential Message from the White House stated,
“We come together as one country to acknowledge the challenges faced by Americans struggling with Alzheimer’s disease, while also pledging our support for the compassionate individuals who care for the men and women living with this devastating condition. As we solemnly remember the family and friends we have lost to this deadly disease, we vow never to relent in our determination to find a cure.
“Together, we will continue to pursue new research in search of a breakthrough that will alleviate the suffering of the millions of Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.”
The Good News Is…
The good news is that this bipartisan “win” is one fight that most everyone, on both sides of the aisle, are getting behind.