To the Editor:
While Alzheimer’s disease has been traditionally seen as an aging issue, it has evolved into a public health issue. More than five million people are living with Alzheimer’s, two-thirds of whom are women. The number of people with the disease is projected to triple to as many as 16 million by 2050. The annual costs are approximately $259 billion for 2017, and are expected to rise to more than $1 trillion by 2050.
Currently, there is new bipartisan legislation in Congress, The Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act (S 2076 / H.R. 4276), to prioritize a national approach to Alzheimer’s disease as a public health issue and emergency.
The BOLD Act, sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association, would establish Alzheimer Centers of Excellence in communities around the country to expand and promote the evidence base for effective Alzheimer’s interventions, and issue funding to state and local public health departments to promote cognitive health, risk reduction, early detection and diagnosis, and the needs of caregivers. The BOLD Act would also increase collection, analysis, and timely reporting of data on cognitive decline and caregiving to assist in future public health decisions. It will also increase implementation of the CDC’s Healthy Brain Initiative Public Health Road Map nationwide. Addressing Alzheimer’s disease as an urgent public health issue will allow for the creation of population-level change, achieve a higher quality of life for those living with the disease and their caregivers, and reduce associated costs.
Congressman Jim Himes is a staunch supporter of Alzheimer’s and caregiver support initiatives. His efforts in Congress are greatly appreciated as we endeavor to keep the momentum for intervention and cure on track.