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First National Alzheimer’s Action Plan Becomes Law


With President Obama’s signature, the first national action plan for Alzheimer’s disease became law in 2011, setting the stage for a coordinated effort to “accelerate the development of treatments that would prevent, halt or reverse the course of Alzheimer’s” and “improve the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and coordination of the care and treatment of citizens with Alzheimer’s.”

The plan is part of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, or NAPA, that was passed unanimously by both houses of Congress late in 2010. It will create a federal advisory panel to devise a national strategy for the care, support and treatment needs of the more than five million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. It will also consider the needs of the even greater number of caregivers and family members touched by the disease.

Like the earlier war on cancer and government efforts to coordinate research and funding for diseases like AIDS, this is the first time there has been a focused national campaign for Alzheimer’s disease.

The advisory panel will involve federal agencies that deal with health and aging issues. Researchers, doctors and other health care providers, scientific experts and people caring for those with Alzheimer’s will be involved in developing the plan.

The plan will work to coordinate localized research efforts to find effective drugs and treatments for Alzheimer’s. It will also aim to improve methods for diagnosing the disease at early stages, before brain damage has become extensive and therapies to delay symptoms may be most effective. In addition, annual reviews will work to determine the most effective government-financed programs involving research, treatment, home care and nursing homes.

The law doesn’t authorize funds for research for finding a cure or for caregiver services. But legislators expect that increased funding for Alzheimer’s will be a recommendation of the panel. Currently, lawmakers point out, the government spends one penny on Alzheimer’s research for every dollar it spends on caring for patients with the disease.

The cost of Alzheimer’s for Medicare and Medicaid is now about $170 billion a year. As the population ages and the number of Alzheimer’s cases grows, the cost is expected to reach $800 billion by 2050 unless effective treatments or a cure are found.

The Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation continues to fund vital research into the causes of Alzheimer’s in the search for a cure.  To learn more or make a donation, visit

By, The Alzheimer’s Information Site. Reviewed by William J. Netzer, Ph.D., Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation at The Rockefeller University.

Add a Comment

carla danesi

January 13, 2011 at 7:15 am

Thank god president obama had the foresight and wisdom to sign hope into our future as americans.this shows he honestly wants to try to make our country a better place.without this act we had no plan,no hope,no chance.I didn’t vote for him in this last election,but I will in the next to show him respect and thanks for my mom,my family and all the people of america who suffer with the effects of this brutal inhumane disease.

carla danesi

January 13, 2011 at 7:23 am

Part two of my comment:the work for myself and the rest of our nations advocates begins now;to ensure that the act is carried out exactly as proposed and the monies go to their designated promise to my mom,as I go through this disease with her,is to see this act through.we have won a victory but the war on this disease will be won when there is a new and better medicine or cure.I promised my mother and father and now I tell you;I will not rest until the new medicine is here.thankyou,carla danesi glorias daughter “remember gloria,gloria lives”

Yvonne Crump

January 13, 2011 at 12:06 pm

This is fantastic news!! Too late for my last stage husband but great for the future.

Fred E. Vanosdall

January 13, 2011 at 7:34 am

I have long time personal friends,of over 50 years, who died of Alzheimers Disease. He served in a high state government office, preceded by Commissioned Military Service. His general health appearedexcellent – we played bridge regularly and after his reteirement from government service, time passed.

We became aware of his concern about his performance playing cards and after some unexplainjed failures in memory we learned he was diagnosed as having Alzsheimers.

This man’s live was exemplary and our medical science struggles with this problem.

But does it require a law for the medical people, univerities, foundations, and other research organizations to generate the funds
needed to identify and control it?

What do our authorities in public health do to excite financial institutions to respond to the need?

Is this like the problems we faced with Polio, MS, organ failures and transplants?

Is it just a cash flow problme, an emotional threat, the danger of the unknown and what is our status in progress internationally on this disease?

Fred E. Vanosdall


January 14, 2011 at 4:00 am

Wow Obama is becoming much more acceptable to me over this. I lost one of my best friends to a secondary cause of this wretched disease. Too bad with all the help this particular field of health care needs that nursing school is from my personalexperience, such a formidable environment especially when people want to specifically do Alzheimers care as I did. I hope someone else having the same passion for this specific area will make it through the process and “kick butt and take names”. I still love and miss you Del


January 15, 2011 at 3:08 am

I have never been so proud of our President as I am at this moment. He really, truly understands what it takes to be a leader in this country. My mom is in late-stage alzheimers, my mother’s identical twin sister died from it 7 years ago, and my brothers, sister, and I live in fear that we will be next. My husband’s mother was just diagnosed with it. Her brother died from it a year ago. People in this country need to understand how prevalent this disease is, and how devastating it is to the person suffering from it, the fear they feel when they are losing their memory, and the fear the families feel for their loved ones. The cost is astronomical. More needs to be done to help provide financial help to those family members strong enough to care for their loved ones as long as possible. The cost to this country would be so much less than placing the loved ones in nursing homes. When are our legislators going to realize this? At least they and the President are finally making a move in the right direction. A cure will not be found until coordinated efforts are made by all the researchers, with shared information. I hope and pray our congress will do right in moving this even more forward, especially for the caretakers, who are the heroes in this country. From a daughter who loves her mother very nuch, and feels for all others who suffer with this catastrophic disease.

Mary F

January 15, 2011 at 5:20 am

My mother was bedridden for 7 years, in a fetal position for 4 years, and did not know anyone. This shouldn’t happen to anybody. Pres. Obama is doing a great job

Liz Sands

January 18, 2011 at 10:52 am

Thank God for President Obama’s forward thinking and compassionate caring…no one can imagine what this disease does to the patient and the caregiver’s marriage-I pray every day that he will remember who I am, and he still does but we live one day at a time…


January 25, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Research into the cause, treatment and prevention of AD is going on all over the world. I hope the panel will consider a centralized resource for cataloging and following this valuable work.

Elsabe Gillmer

February 1, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Halleluja!! My mother is in the 6 stage of AD and it is very hard on the family. You always feel that u would like to do more for her but what?? Thank you pres Obama you doing a great job.


February 4, 2011 at 11:24 pm

It’s about time Obama did something right. It should not have taken this long for a top governmental figure to recognise the problems we face with this horrid disease today. I thank Pres. Obama for this small part he is playing in getting this disease brought to the forefront but my opinion hasn’t changed yet. He just signed a piece of paper. Now, let’s see if he gives it teeth.

Andrew Hansford

August 24, 2011 at 11:53 am

$170 Billion. That is the word I picked up on. Sufferers should get free medication like in the UK. But the goverment are part of the phacutical world. How is going to say no to that kind of money? That is why very little will change. SIgn what you want, its actions that count

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