Alzheimer’s research underfunded

Research dollars limited despite increasing costs, toll on human health

“Call Congressman Doug LaMalfa and ask him to make Alzheimer’s disease a national priority,” Chico resident R.A. Fanno urges North State residents in a letter to the CN&R dated March 31.

Fanno is part of the national Alzheimer’s Association’s ongoing push for increased research funding, which remains relatively scarce despite increasing costs in human health and to the health care system. The National Institutes of Health dedicated $5.3 billion to cancer research in 2013, almost $3 billion to HIV/AIDS, and $1.2 billion to diabetes, according to Newsweek. Alzheimer’s research received just $500 million, though Congress did pass an unprecedented $122 million increase to Alzheimer’s research, education, outreach and caregiver support in January.

An estimated 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, and that figure could reach 7.1 million by 2025, according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s annual Disease Facts and Figures report. The total cost of caring for Americans with Alzheimer’s or other dementias is expected to reach $214 billion this year.