Right now, Congress and the President are sending $350 million in additional funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – a 60 percent hike, pushing the total for Alzheimer’s research spending over the $950 million mark for the first time, thanks in large part to the work of the bicameral, bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's disease founded by Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) and Representative Chris Smith (R-New Jersey).
On the campaign trail, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has aggressively pushed a plan to increase funding for Alzheimer’s research to $2 billion annually by 2025 while on the GOP side, Donald Trump has called for stepped up funding.
Why? The humanitarian motive is certainly there. Probably no other disease will touch so many Americans in such a heartbreaking fashion, and in such ballooning numbers, over the next decade. The prevalence of the disease, increased life spans and the aging of Baby Boomers mean millions of families will know the terrible pain of a parent or sibling who begins to forget who they are.
Research into finding a way to stop the progression of the disease can save this country trillions of dollars over the coming decades. And curing, or controlling, this nightmare illness is no longer a dream – and certainly not a waste of our precious medical research funds.
More than that, for millions of American – for millions of people around the globe – the money we spend now will reap even bigger savings, saving in lives of the ones we love, for generations to come.
Those are dollars well spent.