A National Strategy for Alzheimer's

Contributed by: Dennis Fortier, President, Medical Care Corporation

Since the National Alzheimer's Prevention Act was passed into law in November of 2010, the Obama administration has been legally bound to develop a national strategy to fight Alzheimer's disease.  As the first draft of the plan is nearing completion, certain themes have been clearly expressed by the public in terms of what they hope the plan includes.

As described in this Associated Press article published by Time,  the plan should address three elements that have been consistently advocated in public forums:
  1. Primary care physicians need better training to make earlier diagnoses of cognitive problems
  2. Huge spending discrepancies by the National Institutes of Health need to be adressed as Alzheimer's disease receives a tiny fraction of the support that cancer and AIDS receive
  3. More community support programs are needed to help Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers survive at home during later stages of the disease
While it is still unclear what the first version of the strategy will look like, or how detailed it will be, I am pleased to see those priorities rising from the public realm.  Two of them are completely focused on the pragmatic benefits of doing a better job with the scientific knowledge we already have, while only the NIH budget issue seems to be focused on funding new (and probably elusive) scientific breakthroughs.


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