This week, President Barack Obama released the Administration’s budget for FY14, which includes an additional $100 million dedicated to the fight against Alzheimer’s and the implementation of the National Plan to address Alzheimer’s. These new resources will be used to fund research, awareness, education and outreach, and caregiver support. This past year has been frustrating for all Americans as we witnessed the breakdown of the budget and funding process in Washington — but especially so for those of us who know how badly these resources are needed to overcome Alzheimer’s. This is very encouraging. We have emerged from this unprecedented year of fiscal challenges with all signals indicating that Alzheimer’s is more of a priority now than ever before and applaud the Administration for investing in this cause now, even in these difficult times, in ways that underscore a lasting commitment.
The allocation in the President’s budget, as well as other recent events, suggest that the end of Alzheimer’s can’t wait and is gaining traction at the highest levels of government. Recently, independent research published in the New England Journal of Medicine confirmed: Alzheimer’s and other dementias cost more than any other condition in America today, even more than heart disease and cancer.
Last Tuesday, President Obama hosted an event at the White House marking the launch of the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative, a large-scale effort to map brain activity as a step to advance the understanding of complex diseases like Alzheimer’s. The President led with Alzheimer’s both in his live remarks and in the subsequently released statement to illustrate the potential of such mapping.
Harry Johns, CEO, Alzheimer’s Association believes we are on the threshold of changing the trajectory of this disease stating, “Throughout our history, our nation has realized incredible success when we’ve focused our resources on tackling significant challenges. Alzheimer’s will be no different. To achieve the vision that we all share, we must pursue every avenue. We must ensure that we are committing sufficient resources to care and support for the millions of Americans who need it today, while adequately supporting research that will change the way that Alzheimer’s is detected and treated tomorrow. With these recent developments, with our nation’s real commitment, and ultimately with full funding for the implementation of the National Alzheimer’s Plan, changing the trajectory of Alzheimer’s is achievable.”