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Letter to the editor: Support HOPE Act to help fight Alzheimer’s

Friday, March 14, 2014 - 12:01 am

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee (Labor and HHS) met Feb. 26 and heard testimony from Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Richard Hodes and Dr. Story Landis from the Nation Institutes of Health; Dr. Michael Hurd, head researcher in the Study of Cost of Dementia in the U.S.; Dennis Moore, former U.S. Representative (Kansas), who is living with Alzheimer’s; and Seth Rogan, comedian and Alzheimer’s Association advocate.

Drs. Collins and Hodes explained that for every six Alzheimer’s research proposals that are made to the NIH/NIA they have only been able to fund one study due to budget limitations. The increased funding in fiscal year 2014 appropriations will increase the number of studies they can fund and also will encourage scientists to commit to Alzheimer’s research studies. Moore and Rogan presented to the Senators a personal perspective of living with Alzheimer’s. Dr. Hurd’s study outlined the enormous economic impact of Alzheimer’s to our nation for the subcommittee.

The increased funding is a great victory to those who have advocated for this purpose for years. As Dr. Collins explained, one year of funding is certainly appreciated but will need the continued support of Congress to bring the research to maturity and reduce the economic and personal impact.

Those who advocate for improved services and treatment for Alzheimer’s also are seeking support from our congressmen for the Health Outcomes, Planning and Education for Alzheimer’s Act (HR 1507 and S 709). The Act has 165 House co-sponsors and 26 Senate co-sponsors.

These co-sponsors do not include Rep. Marlin Stutzman, Sen. Dan Coats or Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana. Please contact their offices if you would like their support for the HOPE Act to improve diagnosis and care planning for Alzheimer’s.

Jana Powell, Alzheimer’s Association ambassador