New Hope in the Fight Against Alzheimer’s Disease

It’s a cause for hope and optimism:  Today is the first day in a new push to help individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease. According to an article on

The Obama administration declared Alzheimer’s one of the country’s biggest health challenges on Tuesday, adopting a national strategy that sets the clock ticking toward better treatments by 2025 — along with help for suffering families today.

“What we know is a lot more needs to be done and it needs to be done right now, because people with Alzheimer’s disease and their loved ones and caregivers need help right now,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in announcing the first National Alzheimer’s Plan.

The very first step has already been completed:  a brand-new website——that offers information for patients and caregivers. The site provides basic information about the disease, treatment options, how to pay for treatment, caregiver services, local help resources, and Alzheimer’s disease research programs.

In addition, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) plans to spend an additional $50 million on Alzheimer’s disease treatment research this year.

“These actions are the cornerstones of an historic effort to fight Alzheimer’s disease,” Kathleen Sebelius said.

According to an article from CBS News, initial steps will include:

—A planned $8 million study of an insulin nasal spray that pilot-testing suggests could help Alzheimer’s. It’s based on growing evidence that diabetes and Alzheimer’s are related, damaging how the brain is fueled. The insulin nasal spray can reach the brain without affecting blood-sugar levels.

—Also, NIH was contributing $16 million to an international study of whether a treatment targeting amyloid, Alzheimer’s hallmark brain plaque, could prevent the disease. The study will include people at highest risk, genetically, of the disease, including Americans and a unique group in Colombia.

—The government will begin offering training to doctors and other health providers on the best ways to care for patients and their families.

“This is a strong plan that promises important progress when implemented,” said Harry Johns, president of the Alzheimer’s Association.

This is very exciting for anyone whose family has been touched by Alzheimer’s disease. This disorder has a history of draining hope at the same rate it drains memory. This is good news…for a change.

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