The War on Alzheimer's

Contributed by: Dennis Fortier, President, Medical Care Corporation

Declaring war on a disease or social problem is no guarantee that it will be vanquished.  However, the passage of the National Alzheimer's Prevention Act (NAPA) a year ago, and the near ready draft of a strategy to wage such a war, are both good signs.

I am encouraged by the top-level recognition of Alzheimer's as a major social problem, and by the seeming seriousness of the current administration to tackle it.  However, the lack of funding in these fiscally challenging times is concerning.  For perspective, we commit more than $6B annually in federal funds to cancer research compared to about a half a billion for AD research.  Current lobbying efforts are aiming for a $2B budget to implement a strategy under NAPA.

If we are to wage a war against this disease, then research funds to better understand Alzheimer's and to develop a cure must be the center-piece of the strategy.  However, I hope that the planners do not overlook more certain, and more immediate opportunities to win many battles.  Great progress can be achieved with not much more than a dose of pragmatism and public will.  I described those opportunities in some detail in an earlier post "Antidote for the Alzheimer's Epidemic".

Given the fast pace of research in this field over the past decade, coupled with historically slow adoption of new knowledge into clinical practice, there is a large gap between the state of our medical knowledge and the standards of care we commonly practice in the clinic.

So let's commit to a national plan for thwarting Alzheimer's and focus on developing a cure.  But let's make sure we also take care to update clinical practice with all of the new discoveries we have made, and will continue to make, as we race toward that ultimate goal.

1 comment :

  1. Dennis, simply brilliant. Once again you see the essence of the issue, break it down and offer an immediate and practical application that can reach a large part of the population in need by simply implementing what we already know at the clinical level. Dennis has already laid out the next steps in his blog "Antidote for the Alzheimer's Epidemic", the link can be found above.