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Alzheimer's disease: Why research is so critical

In case you missed it, Forbes.com had a sobering reminder yesterday of the toll Alzheimer's disease has taken on our society, the importance of research - and why things may get worse before they get better:

Unless a cure is found – and there is no hope of one today – the number of sufferers from some form of dementia will  triple to nearly 15 million – of whom half will be in such serious  shape as to require costly 24 hour a day 7 day a week care-taking...

Despite the prevalence of this plague and the extraordinarily expensive cost of care,  the amount of money earmarked for research on the disease is a fraction of what is spent on research into cancer, heart disease or HIV-AIDS. The National Institute of Health is behind the curve on Alzheimer prevention and cure, earmarking only some $450 million in funds for 2011.

And the threat of cutting the medical research budget of the nation could mean “a coming storm of untreated patients,” warns Michela Gallagher, a Johns Hopkins professor in the joint fields of psychology and neuroscience. “Alzheimer’s just has not been on the medical solution radar,” says Gallagher. “It’s a very tough challenge to find a solution, because there have been very few clinical trials,” she tells me...

Previously: The long good-bye: Stanford expert discusses Alzheimer’s in new podcast and Alzheimer’s disease costs to soar over next 40 years

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