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Obama administration pledges $156 million for Alzheimer’s research and care

WASHINGTON -- Representative Edward Markey applauded the Obama administration’s announcement this morning that it would pledge $156 million for Alzheimer’s research and care, a progressive, irreversible brain disorder afflicting approximately 5.1 million Americans.

The announcement, Markey said, “heralds vital progress in our nation’s commitment to curing this devastating disease.”

In January of 2011, Obama signed the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, which calls for an aggressive and coordinated national Alzheimer’s disease plan. Markey, Democrat of Malden, wrote the bill.

With the aging population, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services projects that the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease, which destroys memory and thinking skills, could more than double by 2050.

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The administration will direct $50 million in research funds this year and will request an additional $80 million in its fiscal 2013 budget, which will be released next week. The investment would represent a more than 25 percent increase over the current annual Alzheimer’s research investment, according to the Health and Human Services Department. The money will support basic and clinical research, including work to identify the genes that increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and test therapies in those at the highest risk.

“The nation’s scientists and researchers stand ready, and we must ensure they have the funding to develop the treatments and technologies that bring us closer to a cure,” said Markey, co-chairman of the Congressional Taskforce on Alzheimer’s Disease.

An additional $26 million would go toward caregiver support, provider education, public awareness, and improvements in data infrastructure.

Markey said that by 2050, if progress is not made, the federal government will spend $600 billion a year out of Medicare and $200 billion a year in Medicaid on treatment for Alzheimer’s alone.


Tracy Jan can be reached at tjan@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeTracyJan.