The largest-ever funding increase for Alzheimer’s and dementia research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was signed into law today. The $425 million increase was advocated for by the Alzheimer’s Association, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) and its nationwide network of dedicated advocates. Spearheaded by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), today’s action shows that Congress remains fully committed to the fight to end Alzheimer’s.
“Alzheimer’s is a devastating and fatal disease impacting millions of Americans and threatening to bankrupt Medicare,” said Harry Johns, Alzheimer’s Association and AIM President and CEO. “But much needed new funding is accelerating the pace of progress, fostering collaboration and data sharing, and bringing us closer to our vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.”
Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in the country, costing an estimated $277 billion—including $186 billion in direct costs to Medicare and Medicaid—in 2018. Today more than 5 million Americans are living with the disease and by 2050 this number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million. However, because of the recent increases in NIH funding, scientists are able to work at a more rapid pace to advance basic disease knowledge, explore ways to reduce risk, uncover new biomarkers for early diagnosis and drug targeting, and develop potential treatments. And beyond research, Congress has and continues to implement policies to improve access to critical care planning services.
“On behalf of all those affected by Alzheimer’s, we extend our deepest thanks to Sens. Blunt, Murray, Shelby, and Leahy, and Reps. Cole, DeLauro, Frelinghuysen, and Lowey, and the rest of Congress for their continued bipartisan work to prioritize research funding for Alzheimer’s and other dementias,” continued Johns.
The total annual funding for Alzheimer’s and dementia at the NIH is now $2.3 billion, up from just $448 million in 2011 when the Alzheimer’s Association and AIM led efforts to pass the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA). Since that time the federal government has listened to the research community about the resources needed to address Alzheimer’s disease, made care planning services available through Medicare for individuals with cognitive impairment, and tasked the Department of Health and Human Services with developing a plan to address the needs of our nation’s family caregivers.