Memory Matters: What's being done about Alzheimer's Disease?
What's being done about Alzheimer's Disease?
Hope through science: prevention and treatment
The pace of discovery is rapidly accelerating: 95 percent of what we know about Alzheimer's has been discovered in the last 15 years. We now know it is possible to maintain brain health and reduce the risk of dementia by managing lifestyle risk factors: keep mentally active, stay physically active, stay socially engaged and follow a heart-healthy diet high in antioxidants. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is partnering with the Alzheimer's Association on a $1.5 million program to support our Maintain Your Brain(r) public awareness and education campaign on prevention of dementia.
Many clinical trials are under way to test drugs with the potential to treat or prevent Alzheimer's. Thousands of top scientists and clinicians around the world are actively engaged in Alzheimer research. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) is conducting a wide-ranging genetics study to understand the roles of genes in late-onset Alzheimer's; three genes already have been identified as causing rare, inherited forms of the disease. 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. Alzheimer's Association funding of research now totals more than $185 million since the mid-1980s, making us the largest private, nonprofit funder of research in the world. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved five drugs to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
Hope for people: enhanced care and support
Our Association's nationwide network of 81 chapters and 300 points of service 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. Our 24/7 Helpline provides information, care consultation and referrals in 140 languages to 100,000 callers anytime, day or night every year. The Alzheimer's Association Safe Return(r) program has registered more than 128,000 individuals and facilitated recovery of more than 10,000 who have wandered.
Hope for people: awareness and advocacy
Our Coalition of Hope has united 65 million Americans representing nearly 160 organizations to raise awareness of Alzheimer's disease and help make it a national priority. 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.
Every year thousands of people in 680 communities nationwide join our Memory Walk, our largest national fund raising event which has raised more than $175 million to support those battling Alzheimer's.
Our user-friendly Web site provides 24/7 access to vital information and resources for more than a quarter-million visitors each month. With the site's new message boards, people can share their experiences and caregiving and treatment issues in a supportive environment.
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.
(ITALICS PLEASE)The Alzheimer's Association is a 501(c) non-profit organization. The Association enhances care and support for people with Alzheimer's disease, their families, and caregivers and encourages support for research. 5 Public Square, Ste. 307, Hagerstown, MD, 301-797-4892, www.alzgmd.org.