Washington, DC - The Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] has endorsed bi-partisan legislation in Congress to focus attention and resources on “the scourge” of dementia and, in particular, Alzheimer’s, which is America’s most expensive disease.
The BOLD [Building Our Largest Dementia] Infrastructure for Alzheimer's Act [S.2076] and the House version of the bill [H.R.4256] were both introduced last November with bi-partisan support. Susan Collins [R-ME], Chairman of the Special Committee on Aging, introduced the bill in the Senate. Rep. Brett Guthrie [R-KY] sponsored the House version. The measures would provide “research funding … needed to achieve our goal of preventing and treating Alzheimer’s by the year 2025,” according to an online post by Sen. Collins.
AMAC president Dan Weber sent letters of support to Senator Collins and her cosponsors in the Senate and to Representative Brett Guthrie and his cosponsors in the House. In his messages, Weber stated: “The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act will empower those living with Alzheimer’s, and their caregivers, by increasing access to education and expanding necessary support services. The steps outlined in this bill will ensure both patients and caregivers are best positioned to deal with the effects of Alzheimer’s and preserve the financial integrity of our healthcare system by averting a potentially disastrous public health crisis.”
Weber has long been calling for a new focus on Alzheimer’s and says “it’s about time that one of the most devastating diseases afflicting older Americans receives the full attention of the U.S. government. It is destructive to the individuals who suffer from this malignant form of dementia and their families. But it also has the potential of overwhelming America’s healthcare infrastructure if it is not checked.”
Weber notes that AIDS, a disease that is in decline and afflicts 1.1 million Americans, receives some $32 billion in Federal funding. Meanwhile, he points out, the National Institutes of Health [NIH] says it will spend just $1.9 billion this year to fund research on Alzheimer’s – a disease that plagues the lives of more than 5.7 individuals in the U.S. and is expected to destroy the lives of as many as 14 million by the year 2050.”
Former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. David Satcher, who also served as the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Alzheimer’s is the most under-recognized threat to public health in the 21st century.”
In an appeal for support of the BOLD Act, Satcher said that the legislation would create a “public health infrastructure across the country to implement effective Alzheimer's interventions.” It would:
- Establish Alzheimer’s Centers of Excellence that would increase early detection and diagnosis, reducing risk, preventing avoidable hospitalizations, reducing health disparities, supporting the needs of caregivers and supporting care planning for people living with the disease.
- Provide funding to help public health departments implement effective Alzheimer’s interventions.
- Make available funding for the Increased data collection, analysis and timely reporting needed to support research aimed at controlling and controlling the disease.
“The BOLD Act provides a new, sorely needed perspective on Alzheimer’s disease and much needed, substantive support in the quest for a cure. Along the way it will help researchers to come up with new, more effective ways of managing this insidious form of dementia. Meanwhile, the more we learn about the pathways of Alzheimer’s with help from the public sector, the more effective medical researchers in the private sector can be in checking the progress of the disease among older Americans,” Weber said.