In February, the Obama Administration announced new efforts to fight Alzheimer’s disease, including an additional $50 million available for cutting-edge Alzheimer’s research. In addition, the administration’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget will boost funding for Alzheimer’s research by $80 million. But what does that mean for non-Alzheimer’s dementia research?
The Rising Tide Lifts All Boats
Research shows that there is a significant amount of inter-connectedness in neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Lewy body dementias. When the brain develops one neurodegenerative disease, it appears to become at risk for multiple disease processes. The presence of biological indicators of both AD and LBD are usually present in the brains of at least half of all people with either clinical diagnosis. So research into Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease will advance LBD knowledge much like the concept of how a rising tide lifts all boats.
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) is the leading federal agency funding Alzheimer’s research. Dr. Creighton Phelps, director of the Alzheimer's Disease Centers Program at NIA explains NIA’s commitment to the ‘other dementias,’ “The NIA is committed to supporting research that will increase our understanding of all dementias that affect our aging population. The Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center (ADEAR) provides information about all of the dementias on its web site http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/ and through printed documents. We also encourage the Alzheimer’s Disease Centers to conduct research on the other dementias and to provide information and support to the community about all of the dementias.”
Regarding the recent announcement of Alzheimer’s research funding, Dr. Phelps added, “In addition to funds for Alzheimer’s disease research, the President’s 2013 budget proposal also will include money for support of caregivers in the community, improving health care provider training, and raising public awareness. It is very likely that all of the dementias will benefit from these new initiatives.”
While it’s reassuring to know that the LBD community may ultimately benefit from investments in Alzheimer’s research, more LBD research funding is essential for the development of improved diagnostics, treatments and family resources. LBDA is firmly committed to speaking up on behalf of LBD families to federal agencies, for profit enterprises, nonprofit organizations, medical professionals and more. Lend your voices by making a donation to LBD. With your support, we CAN shine a light on LBD and impact change at the national level.