U.S. Senators Mel Martinez (R-FL) and Evan Bayh (D-IN) today introduced a measure to create a collaborated system for researching, treating and eliminating Alzheimer's disease. The proposal will create an Office of the National Alzheimer's Project within the White House, and will coordinate all research, clinical care and service toward the prevention, care, and cure of Alzheimer's. This office will produce a national strategic plan to help assure that the millions of Americans who now have Alzheimer's and the millions of potentially at-risk Americans will have a coordinated effort to target the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.
"Our nation's current health care system is unprepared to meet the needs of the growing number of Alzheimer's patients. As the Baby Boomer generation continues to age and the prevalence of this disease increases, innovative drugs and treatments are desperately needed to manage and slow this disease," said Martinez, lead Republican of the Senate's Special Committee on Aging. "This new office will coordinate all care and research efforts in fighting this progressive, disabling disease of the mind and body. By assisting patients and their family members, many governmental and non-governmental agencies studying the causes, effects, and clinical and service needs of Alzheimer's will be able to combine their best practices of care for those afflicted with the disease and hopefully one day provide a cure."
Sen. Evan Bayh, a member of the Special Committee on Aging, said, "Alzheimer's causes a tremendous emotional strain to the families caring for patients, and a financial strain on our nation's already stressed health care system. With the number of Alzheimer's patients on the rise and the federal government spending an estimated one hundred billion dollars on their care this year, we must increase our efforts to detect and combat this disease. Establishing the Office of the National Alzheimer's Project in the White House will accelerate the development of cutting edge medical treatments to fight Alzheimer's and improve patient care for the 5.3 million Americans and their families who bravely confront this disease every day."
Studies show that almost half of all Americans who reach age 85 and beyond will be afflicted with Alzheimer's. The Office of the National Alzheimer's Project's director will be appointed to the Domestic Policy Council and the Office of Science and Technology and will have input in all realms relating to this devastating disease. The office will also ensure the inclusion of ethnic and racial populations at higher risk for Alzheimer's or least likely to receive care in clinical, research, and access to facilities diagnosing and treating Alzheimer's.
The Office of the National Alzheimer's Project act has received the Alzheimer's Associations full support. Joining Senators Martinez and Bayh in this effort, are Senators Collins (R-ME), Bennet (D-CO), Feingold (D-WI), and Tester (D-MT).