In June 1999, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) joined together as co-chairs of the Bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease. To date, over 200 Members in both the House and the Senate have joined the Bicameral Task Force with the mission of improving the lives of those affected by Alzheimer's through increased funding for research and increased support to Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers.
Background on Alzheimer's Disease: Alzheimer's Disease is a progressive brain disorder marked by an irreversible decline in intellectual abilities and by changes in behavior and personality. The disease can span between three and twenty years and ultimately leaves patients incapable of caring for themselves. As a result, Alzheimer's Disease has a profound effect on the millions of family members and other loved ones who provide most of the care for people with the disease. Approximately 5.4 million Americans suffer Alzheimer's disease or another dementia. In 2010, 14.9 million family members and friends provided 17 billion hours of unpaid care to those with the disease. The cost for care for patients with Alzheimer's disease wil reach over $90 billion in 2011 from Medicare alone.