Alzheimer’s disease, which today afflicts as many as 5.1 million people in the United States, devastates the lives of individuals suffering from the disease and places tremendous physical, emotional, and financial strain on their families and loved ones. We can’t wait to act. As the population of the United States ages, the time for bold action on the growing public health challenge posed by Alzheimer’s is now.
This week, we proposed a historic $156 million investment to tackle Alzheimer’s disease. This investment will:
These investments build on the President’s commitment to fighting Alzheimer’s disease.In January 2011, President Obama signed the National Alzheimer's Project Act, which calls for an aggressive and coordinated national Alzheimer’s disease plan. The Act also establishes an Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services, which brings together some of the Nation's foremost experts on Alzheimer's disease to inform the development of the national plan.
The time to take on Alzheimer’s disease is now. Without a cure or more effective treatment, Alzheimer’s is expected to grow more prevalent as the population ages. Failure to invest now will place significant strain on our nation’s health care resources in future years. If no effective strategies are found for Alzheimer’s treatment or prevention, the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease and the annual health care costs associated with Alzheimer’s disease are projected to rise significantly in the coming years. Which is why – we can’t wait.
Kathleen Sebelius is Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.