In the midst of budget cuts and economic turmoil, the Federal government has committed $50 million for 2012 and $100 million in 2013 for a new plan to help treat and strive to find a cure for Alzheimer’s. The fatal form of the disease is thought to affect 5.1 million Americans and current treatments have been unsuccessful in stopping the progression of the disease.
What is included in the new plan
President Obama’s administration backed this new plan with a goal of finding a cure by 2025. This is an unprecedented effort to combat this deadly and disabling disease that seems to be growing in numbers. In a study done by Johns Hopkins University in 2006 on the global effects of Alzheimer’s, it was predicted that without advanced strides in prevention and treatment, by 2050, 1 in 85 persons would be living with the disease worldwide.
The plan includes five major goals:
- To prevent and treat Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) by 2025. This includes strategies to prioritize which research to focus on, expand research on prevention and treatment, accelerate efforts for early identification of the disease, and follow through with bringing their findings to the public and medical community.
- Enhance care quality and efficiency. Goal two is to work on the care given to patients by increasing the skills of elder caregivers through incentives, ensure timely diagnosis and evaluate effectiveness of new models of care
- Expand supports for AD patients and their families. The focus is to expand culturally sensitive training and education on the disease, help families maintain their own well-being while care-giving for AD and plan for future needs.
- Enhance public awareness and enlightenment. The goal is to increase education and awareness of AD to the public through state, tribal and local governments. This also includes reaching out to the global community to share knowledge and best practices.
- Improve data to track progress. To combat AD, the data accumulated must be accurate, so this goal is to evaluate how and what data is collected, update data, and to monitor the process of the overall plan.
This new plan, if it is adhered to, could be the first step in truly combating AD on a major scale. It is encouraging, and with renewed focus put on this epidemic, there is hope that a cure can be found.