Bipartisan bill addresses need for Alzheimer’s research and caregiver assistance


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Chris Smith (R-N.J.), House co-chairs of the Bipartisan, Bicameral Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease, today announced the introduction of H.R 3286, The Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act of 2009.  The bill will provide urgently needed increases in National Institutes of Health funding for Alzheimer’s disease research, prevention initiatives, clinical research support, public education programs and innovative approaches to Alzheimer’s care.


Rep. Markey said: “As Congress considers comprehensive health care reform, the need is greater than ever for innovative approaches to Alzheimer’s care and prevention. Our bill will provide the NIH with the additional tools needed to find a cure for this devastating disease. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States—a staggering statistic. 10 million U.S. baby boomers are expected to develop Alzheimer’s disease, making it one of the biggest threats to retirement security.”


“This bill will also provide sorely needed relief to caregivers through the establishment of a call center for support and by authorizing grants for studies relating to caregiver research.”   


Rep. Smith said:  “Congressman Ed Markey and I founded and co-chair the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease to focus congressional attention on the disease and advocate for increased federal investments in Alzheimer’s research and services. This bill is a great step forward in our efforts to make a significant difference in improving the lives of those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. AD research for better treatment and progress toward the goal of eradicating this illness must be a national priority in medical research funding.  The urgency of stepping up our national commitment to defeating Alzheimer’s disease and its devastating impacts cannot be overestimated.”


Identical legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Senator Kit Bond (R-MO).


“The fundamental vision we all share is a world without Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association strongly supports the Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act because it provides the increased research investments that are needed to make this hope a reality,” says Robert Egge, the Alzheimer’s Association’s Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy. “We also support the Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act for recognizing that even as we accelerate the science, we also must do all we can to support the 5.3 million Americans and their families currently contending with this terrible disease. This important legislation provides critical resources for these individuals as well. We commend the co-sponsors of this bill for their leadership in championing this important legislation.”