In keeping with the federal government’s goal of having an effective treatment for use against Alzheimer’s disease by 2025, the National Institutes of Health announced yesterday that it will devote an additional $50 million this year to dementia research, in addition to the $450 million per year that it currently spends on research in this arena. Additionally, President Obama plans to ask Congress next week to commit an additional $80 million in new funding for Alzheimer’s research in 2013, which would bring total funding to over half a billion dollars.
Various patient advocates and government advisors do not believe this figure to be sufficient, noting that far more funding is devoted to research into other chronic diseases, and that a significantly greater sum is necessary to ensure meaningful results:
At a meeting last month, some of the government's own Alzheimer's advisers said it could take a research investment of as much as $2 billion a year to make a real impact. "Our country cannot afford not to make these commitments," Alzheimer's Association President Harry Johns told that meeting.
However, this action is generally seen as a positive sign:
"There is no doubt that there is commitment that needs to be applauded here," added Eric J. Hall, president of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.
Given the current economic climate, it is difficult to predict whether the Congress will approve additional funding. In the interim, it is encouraging to see that the NIH is increasing its support for this vital area of research, and that the President is apparently devoted to this effort.