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Alzheimer's advocates say more funding needed for research


Alzheimer’s disease advocates in central New York are joining the national calling for more money to be spent on treatment research and a cure for the disease.

The federal government currently spends half a billion dollars a year on finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and it has left some potential cures without the money to fund trials that lead to FDA approval.

“We don’t know whether or not these will be medications that will actually cure the disease,” said Cathy James of the Central New York Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “They may be medications that can help us to slow down the progression significantly because basically right now, what we have for medications approved by the FDA are medications that are helping with the symptoms of the disease. They are not changing or modifying the disease itself.”

The Alzheimer Association wants the federal government to spend $2 billion a year over the next 10 years on research. They said that would cut the number of people diagnosed in half by the year 2025.

“If we were able to reach that target nationwide by 2025, of having a treatment that could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by just five years, we could reduce the numbers diagnosed with this disease by 42 percent,” James said.  

James added that, in turn, could reduce Medicare and Medicaid costs for Alzheimer’s patients by $220 billion.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.