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Brian H.
Democrat NY 26

About Rep. Brian
  • Funding Alzheimer’s Research

    by Representative Brian Higgins

    Posted on 2015-02-10

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    HIGGINS. I thank the gentleman from California for bringing this issue to the House floor, underscoring the urgency of investing, through the National Institutes of Health, proper funding to find a cause and, thus, a cure for Alzheimer's. As the gentleman said, 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Death from Alzheimer's increased 68 percent between the years 2000 and 2010, while deaths from other major diseases decreased.

    The cost to the United States is over $200 billion a year. Without a breakthrough, treatment will cost $1 trillion a year by the year 2050. We are still seeking an adequate level of funding. For every $100 that the National Institutes of Health spends on Alzheimer's research, Medicare and Medicaid spend $26,000 caring for those who have the disease.

    In Congress we have two pieces of legislation: the Alzheimer's Accountability Act, which would ensure that Federal priorities and goals for Alzheimer's research actually reflect what scientists believe is needed; and the HOPE for Alzheimer's Act, which would provide Medicare coverage for the clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and for care planning of newly diagnosed Americans.

    But all of this, as the gentleman from California pointed out, becomes localized and becomes very personal. The origins of Alzheimer's are unknown, but the end is absolutely certain. It ends in losing your cognitive ability, your dignity, and, ultimately, your life.

    In western New York, we have approximately 130,000 people who are impacted by Alzheimer's: 32,000 people who are afflicted, and 96,000 who love and provide care for the afflicted. That number is expected to triple by 2015.

    The Alzheimer's Association of Western New York works year-round to highlight the effect of Alzheimer's disease and to help people and caregivers touched by this disease.

    One of the people who was touched by this disease is Nancy Swiston, a constituent who lost her mom, Grace Swiston, who bravely fought the disease for 10 long years. Today, Nancy volunteers with the Alzheimer's Association of Western New York to be a voice for those suffering from the disease and the families who care for those with Alzheimer's. Nancy's story is one of too many families across the Nation we share, but we commit to fighting with her to raise awareness in funding for a cure that we will all embrace one day.

    I thank the gentleman from California again for committing us to this important issue.

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