Obama Administration Announces National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease

The plan marks the creation of a landmark national strategy to increase public awareness of Alzheimer's disease.

The plan marks the creation of a landmark national strategy to increase public awareness of Alzheimer’s disease.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius unveiled the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease yesterday, a national strategy under the National Alzheimer’s Project Act that aims to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. Completion of this goal will involve a targeted awareness campaign and the development of effective prevention and treatment approaches for the condition, as well as a historic $156 million investment to execute the plan’s action items.

By some estimates, as many as 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to double in the coming years. The current prevalence makes the condition the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

The specific actions covered under the new plan include the funding of 2 major clinical trials with the help of $50 million from the National Institutes of Health, the development of patient and health care provider resources and training, the launch of a public education media campaign, and a new website (www.alzheimers.gov) to provide support and tools for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Other initiatives outlined by the plan include beefing up the country’s research efforts by identifying research priorities and milestones, improving data collection efforts, speeding up the drug discovery process, sending additional funds to Geriatric Education Centers around the country through provider education programs, and regularly updating the action items in the national plan to reflect feedback and input from Alzheimer’s experts.

The plan—presented May 15 at the Alzheimer’s Research Summit 2012: Path to Treatment and Prevention—was developed with the help of leaders and advocates in the Alzheimer’s disease field.

“Today, we’ve made an historic investment of funds, a 15-year commitment to prevention and treatment, and we’re building partnerships among government, researchers, advocates, providers, and the public that will fully bring Alzheimer’s into the national conscience,” said Sebelius in a statement. “These actions are the cornerstones of an ambitious and aggressive agenda to improve the lives of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their families.”

Click on the video below to see the first advertising spot of the national campaign, entitled “The Answers Start Here”: