Memory Matters: 25 Years of Leadership in Progress and Hope

Memory Matters
25 Years of Leadership in Progress and Hope

In 1980, Alzheimer's disease was rarely diagnosed and no treatments or services were available. Few scientists investigated it. Family caregivers were isolated; until some found each other and began to organize, forming support groups, a service, which continues to this day.
The National Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association incorporated on April 10, 1980. In 1987, the Frederick County Chapter affiliated with the National Association offering services to people in Western Maryland. Because of increased demand, the Association opened an office in Washington County in 1996. Today you can visit or call either office to receive information and support.
For 25 years, we have been the catalyst and leader for a generation of advancements in Alzheimer research and care. Our organization's achievements and progress in the field have given thousands of people a better quality of life and brought hope for millions. Because of our proximity to the National Institute on Aging, John Hopkins, and Copper Ridge, opportunities to participate in local treatment trials are plentiful. Trial information can be found on the local and national websites: www.alzgmd.org or www.alz.org.
The Alzheimer's Association 25th Anniversary is a mile marker on our mission's journey to eliminate Alzheimer's disease, while optimizing quality of life for persons with the disease and their caregivers. We still have unknown roads to travel, but this year, we see reasons to hope.
Hope through science:
1. 95 percent of what we know about Alzheimer's has been discovered in the last 15 years.
2. We now know it is possible to maintain brain health and reduce the risk of dementia by: keeping mentally and physically active, staying socially engaged and following a heart-healthy diet high in antioxidants.
3. Clinical trials are under way to test drugs with the potential to treat or prevent Alzheimer's.
4. Top scientists around the world are actively engaged in Alzheimer research.
5. Federally funded Alzheimer's Disease Centers translate research advances into improved care and diagnosis for Alzheimer's.
6. The National Institute on Aging is conducting a genetics study to understand the roles of genes in late-onset Alzheimer's; three genes already have been identified.
7. The NIA's new five-year, $60-million Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative aims to develop better ways to identify those at high risk for Alzheimer's, track disease progression and monitor response to treatment.
8. Alzheimer's Association funding of research now totals more than $165 million since the mid-1980s, making us the largest private, nonprofit funder of research in the world.
Hope for people:
9. Our Association's network of 81 chapters provides consultation, information and more than 100,000 annual hours of education and support programs to care partners, family members and individuals with Alzheimer's.
10. Our nationwide Contact Center provides information, care consultation and referrals in 140 languages to 100,000 callers anytime, day or night every year.
11. The Alzheimer's Association Safe Return(tm) program has registered more than 128,000 individuals and facilitated recovery of more than 10,000 who have wandered.
12. Medicare contains a prescription drug benefit, has pilot programs to improve care coordination for people with Alzheimer's and no longer denies payment for services simply because a person has Alzheimer's.
13. Federal funding of Alzheimer research has increased from $13 million in the early 1980s to $700 million in 2005 for a total of $7 billion.
14. The Reagan Breakthrough Act of 2005 proposes to raise federal funding of research to $1.4 billion annually.
15. Every year people in 600 communities nationwide join our Memory Walk, our largest fund raising event, which has raised more than $175 million.
16. Scientists from pharmaceutical companies, regulatory agencies and universities are working together through the Alzheimer's Association Research Roundtable to find ways to overcome barriers to drug development, and early detection and intervention.
The next twenty-five years bring unprecedented hope and challenge in addressing Alzheimer's disease. More than one-third of Maryland's population are baby boomers, who will reach the age of risk in coming decades. As the world leader in Alzheimer's research and support, we are well positioned to lead the charge against the Alzheimer's epidemic.

The Alzheimer's Association is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. The Association enhances care and support for people with Alzheimer's disease, their families, and caregivers and encourages support for research. Local office: 5 Public Square, Ste. 307, Hagerstown, MD, 301.797.4892; fax, 301.797.0150; email, Joyce.Heptner@alz.org, www.alzgmd.org.