Multi-Faceted Effort to Increase Alzheimer Disease Awareness Launches

September 13, 2011
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Alzheimer dementia continues to be among the most heavily researched and funded chronic diseases in medical science today. The increased awareness, brought into the spotlight and “modernized” more than 20 years ago following the high profile revelations of celebrites and politicians afflicted with the disorder, has led to increased patient education, public policy initiatives, and, of course, greater research monies in the effort to not only treat symptoms, but also to find a cure.

Alzheimer dementia continues to be among the most heavily researched and funded chronic diseases in medical science today. The increased awareness, brought into the spotlight and “modernized” more than 20 years ago following the high profile revelations of celebrites and politicians afflicted with the disorder, has led to increased patient education, public policy initiatives, and, of course, greater research monies in the effort to not only treat symptoms, but also to find a cure.

An international advocacy group is now asking municipalities to take awareness a notch higher with the commitment to even greater awareness of the disorder — addressing what it calls a “treatment gap”, hampering any gains on detection of the disorder at its earlier stages. Here in the U.S., the Obama admin is apparently hard at work in developing the country’s first-ever national anti-Alzheimer strategy aimed at sharply cutting the enormous healthcare costs associated with ancillary treatment .

The National Alzheimer’s Project: From Act to Action is an effort to support a committed and effective implementation of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA). Information collected from individuals living with the disease, caregivers, providers and other stakeholders will be shared with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for creating a national strategy to address the crisis and coordinate across government agencies. This project is facilitated and supported by the Alzheimer’s Association.

Consider this effort an amalgam of citizen awareness and discussion (townhalls) and legislation (congressional passage of the National Alzheimer Project Act) garnering bipartisan[1] support to fight a scourge that can leave heavy financial tolls on caregivers, families, and the healthcare delivery system itself.[2] A daunting task, to be sure — but one that is sorely needed. Here’s looking forward to December — the date when the president makes his plans for these initiatives very public. | LINK

  1. Just how bipartisan? In 2007, Newt Gingrich co-authored an article in Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, making the case for the creation of a federal Alzheimer strategy.
  2. Alzheimer’s Association advocates sent more than 15,000 email messages to the White House asking the President to sign the National Alzheimer’s Project Act into law; on 1/4/11, he did — making this action the most significant legislative action with respect to Alzheimer funding intiatives up to this point.
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