Today is World Alzheimer’s Day, a day for everyone throughout the world to raise awareness and take action in the fight against this devastating disease. In the United States, thanks to AIM advocates and bipartisan congressional champions, we have made great strides in changing the trajectory of Alzheimer’s since the passage of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) (P.L. 111-375) over a decade ago.
Prior to the NAPA Act, there was no comprehensive plan to address this disease, the only leading cause of death with no effective treatment or prevention. In 2010, for every dollar the federal government spent on the cost of Alzheimer’s care, it invested less than a penny on dementia research.
Since NAPA, the U.S. has initiated development of crucial public health infrastructure, improved access to quality care and secured vital, unprecedented federal research funding increases. And, today, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) invests more than $3.7 billion annually on Alzheimer's and dementia research.
Thanks to this support, scientists have made significant advances in Alzheimer’s and dementia research. A treatment that addresses the underlying biology of Alzheimer’s disease has received traditional approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This treatment changes the course of the disease in a meaningful way for people in the early stages. Future treatments will need to address amyloid, tau and neurodegeneration as well as other brain changes that play a role in the disease and its progression.
Scientists are also making progress on developing simple, inexpensive diagnostic tools that will be available through a doctor’s office. And researchers are working to uncover ways to prevent Alzheimer’s and other dementia, with research showing that we can take action to reduce risk of cognitive decline.
But Congress must take action now to renew our nation’s commitment to the fight against Alzheimer’s and other dementia by passing the NAPA Reauthorization Act (S. 133 / H.R. 619) and the Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act (S. 134 / H.R. 620).
With NAPA and the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act both set to expire in 2025, AIM advocates from across the nation have been working to build bipartisan support for these critical bills, and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) passed the bipartisan bills out of committee this past summer. But more work remains to swiftly pass them into law.
Congress must act now and pass the NAPA Reauthorization Act and the Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act so we can build on the progress made over the last decade and renew our nation’s commitment to addressing the growing Alzheimer’s crisis.
Ask your member of Congress to support these critical bills today.