This week the Congress passed a bill deciding that federal funding for Alzheimer’s increases the next year by $350 million.
Scientists hope that the funding for Alzheimer’s research will reach at least $2 billion to increase the chances of finding a treatment or a method of prevention. The federal funding for cancer research is between $5-6 billion and that for AIDS/HIV is about $3 billion. At the same time, research for heart diseases gets nearly $2 billion each year.
Alzheimer is a disease which affects women more than men. Women over 60 years old are twice more likely to get Alzheimer’s than breast cancer. Besides that, women are also affected as caretakers, since they are the most likely to end up taking care of a relative with Alzheimer’s.
As a result, the Women’s Alzheimer’s Challenge appeared, which is an initiative of journalist Maria Shriver and A Women’s Nation, a non-profit association she founded in 2010.
The Women’s Alzheimer’s Challenge is challenging researchers and research organizations to do research on women’s brains. The organization convinced the Alzheimer’s Association to create the Women’s Alzheimer’s Research Fund.
More than 13 million American women are either living with Alzheimer’s or caring for someone with the disease. A total of over 5 million men and women are living with Alzheimer’s while a total of more 15 million of men and women are caring for people with the disease. More than that, scientists predict that by 2050, the number of Americans over 65 who will be suffering from Alzheimer will probably reach 16 million.
Alzheimer’s costs have already surpassed $200 billion of taxpayer’s money and it is expected that the sum will increase to $1 trillion by the middle of the century.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth cause of death in the United States and the only one in top ten which cannot be cured or prevented.
Hundreds of studies appear each year, trying to get a bit closer to whatever might be causing the disease and also to find an antidote or at least a way of preventing or delaying its occurrence.
Some of the most important studies of this year claim that they discovered factors which increase or decrease the risk of getting the disease. For example, among the risk factors, there is ageism, disturbed sleep and chronic stress. According to other studies, the factors which might help decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s are olive oil, coffee and alcohol.
But are these studies relevant? Further research is needed to answer this question so as federal funding for Alzheimer’s increases we might get better chances of finding a way to fight this monster.
Image source: freeimages.com