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Alzheimer’s affects more than 5 million Americans; costs country $148 billion a year

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and Kit Bond (R-Mo.) today introduced legislation to strengthen our nation’s commitment to Alzheimer’s research and to finding cures and treatments for this devastating disease affecting millions of Americans. The bill, the Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act of 2009, builds on past efforts by Senators Mikulski and Bond to advance Alzheimer’s research. A companion bipartisan bill was introduced in the House of Representatives today by Congressmen Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Chris Smith (R-N.J.).

 “Wouldn’t you like to find a cure for Alzheimer’s? Wouldn’t you like to be part of a Congress that saved millions of lives? Well I do, and so do a bipartisan group of my colleagues,” said Senator Mikulski, Chairwoman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s Subcommittee on Retirement and Aging. “We know that more and more Americans are being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease every year. We must act now.”

 “The tragic effects of Alzheimer’s disease continue to be felt by millions of Americans and their families every day,” said Senator Kit Bond. “This bipartisan legislation will dramatically increase our Nation’s efforts to find a cure for this debilitating disease and I am pleased to join again with Senator Mikulski in leading this effort.”

The Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act of 2009 will:

•           Increase funding for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institute of Health (NIH) from $400 million to $2 billion in 2010. The increase will give researchers the resources they need to make breakthroughs that are on the horizon in diagnosis, prevention and intervention. 

•           Establish a National Summit on Alzheimer’s disease to bring together the best researchers, policymakers and public health professionals to identify priorities for moving forward in the fight against Alzheimer’s and look at the most promising breakthroughs.

•           Expand the Alzheimer’s 24/7 call center and provide updated news, resources and tools for caregivers, families and physicians. The call center would have a multilingual capacity.

•           Expand the Alzheimer’s State Matching Grant Program.

As many as 5.3 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. Every 70 seconds, someone develops the disease and it is the seventh-leading cause of death in America, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Without a cure, 10 million baby boomers will develop Alzheimer’s in their lifetime.  For more information, go to: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_facts_figures.asp.


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