Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the co-chairman of the the Bipartisan Alzheimer's Disease Task Force, today praised the new initiative announced by President Obama to help researchers find new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders like Alzheimer's or other brain diseases and injuries.
Rep. Markey is the co-author of the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA) with Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), which President Obama signed into law in January 2011. It establishes the first-ever national strategy to coordinate Alzheimer's research, improve clinical and home-based care, and ultimately defeat the disease by 2025.
"The ability to see the brain functioning in real time has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of Alzheimer's and other diseases that rob millions of their memory, their mobility, and eventually their lives," said Rep. Markey. "The BRAIN Initiative represents the kind of bold investment in medical research that we must undertake today if we are to achieve our goal under NAPA of curing Alzheimer's by 2025.
Diseases like Alzheimer's continue to devastate families and wreak havoc on our national deficit. Alzheimer's alone costs the United States $200 billion a year, including $105 billion from Medicare -- that's 18 percent of Medicare's entire budget. Already five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's, and the trajectory of the disease over the next few decades threatens to overwhelm our ability to treat and care for these patients. The number of individuals with Alzheimer's will increase to an estimated 13 to 16 million and the costs to Medicare and Medicaid will be more than $800 billion in today's dollars.