More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., and those numbers are set to skyrocket as baby boomers age.
Earlier this month, Congress and President Barack Obama approved the the largest funding increase in history for Alzheimer’s research, bringing the total at the National Institutes of Health to nearly $1 billion per year.
This development is a direct result of the Alzheimer’s Association’s advocacy efforts with elected officials to achieve precisely such significant steps forward. The association’s world-leading scientific programs have validated the need for much greater funding levels and convinced Congress that, if it provides the funding, the funds can be immediately deployed to launch groundbreaking research.
While we all know there’s a long way to go, such efforts show that this is not a partisan issue. I’m confident that we’ll one day look back at this funding effort as a critical turning point in our movement. I am deeply grateful for Rep. Mike Kelly’s (R-Butler) support in passing legislation with these research funds included and the support of so many elected officials in making this happen.
Dave Hunter, Harrisburg
The writer is board chairman of the Alzheimer’s Association — Greater Pa. Chapter.