Recently, the U.S. Senate voted to approve a $425 million increase for federal Alzheimer’s and dementia research funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the 2019 fiscal year. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on this budget increase soon. If signed into law, this would mark the fourth consecutive year that the U.S. Congress has approved an increase in funding research for the growing Alzheimer’s crisis. The past five years has seen monumental increases in Alzheimer’s and dementia research funding at the NIH.
More than 5 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s, and it is projected that as many as 14 million Americans could be living with the disease by 2050. Every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s. It is the most expensive disease in the country and threatens to bankrupt Medicare.
“Thanks to increased NIH funding American scientists are now advancing basic disease knowledge, ways to reduce risk, new biomarkers for early diagnosis and drug targeting, and developing the needed treatments to move to clinical testing,” says Harry Johns, Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) President and CEO.
The Alzheimer’s Association and AIM championed for the passage of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA), which has moved the federal government to take decisive action in the fight to end Alzheimer’s. In addition to the increase in research funding, critical care planning services are now available through Medicare for individuals with cognitive impairment. Also, the Department of Health and Human Services is developing a plan to address the needs of family caregivers.
“We are grateful to the Senate for taking this bipartisan action which will allow the NIH to continue to accelerate research on this devastating and fatal disease,” says Johns. “We appreciate Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) for their continued leadership to secure the funding the scientific community says is needed to address Alzheimer’s.”
Alzheimer’s Association and AIM advocates held thousands of meetings with elected officials, calling on Congress to increase research funding at the NIH. As Congress finalizes the 2019 fiscal year budget over the coming months, the Alzheimer’s Association and AIM will continue to work with Congress to ensure the highest possible research funding amount for Alzheimer’s and dementia at the NIH.