Opinion Reagan Shed Light On Scourge Of Alzheimer’s Disease

The Alzheimer’s Association joins the world in mourning the loss of former President of the United States Ronald Reagan. Our heart-felt condolences go out to the Reagan family.
In 1994, former President Ronald Reagan announced to the world that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, a debilitating and fatal disease that robs a person of memory and ability to think, reason and judge. There is no prevention or cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

Since the announcement, the Reagan family has partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association to raise awareness and important dollars to combat this disease and to one day create a world without Alzheimer’s.

President Reagan’s legendary sense of hope and optimism were a source of inspiration to all of us, and especially to the 4.5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and their families and friends, and the many millions more around the globe.

We are grateful that President and Mrs. Reagan worked with courage and generosity to increase public awareness of this terrible brain disease, and of the need for increased and accelerated research for effective treatments, preventions and a cure.

The Alzheimer’s Association is proud of our long partnership with President and Mrs. Reagan, starting in 1983 when the President designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Month, and continuing through the creation of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute in 1995.

With the aging of the baby boom generation, it is projected that the nation will witness a 70{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} increase in those affected by the disease by 2030, with 7.7 million afflicted. However, the rapid progress in research is making it more likely that there with be scientific breakthroughs in the next ten years, leading to prevention and the possibility that the baby boomers could be the first generation in history to not have to face Alzheimer’s in their future — if we act now to accelerate progress.

The Alzheimer’s Association is asking Congress for a modest $40 million increase in federal funding this year to help carry out large-scale clinical trials to identify treatments able to slow or halt the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Past federal investment in Alzheimer research has been rewarded by phenomenal progress in science, but we remain far short of the $1 billion necessary to ensure these imminent breakthroughs will happen.

The Alzheimer’s Association is honored that the Reagan family has designated the association as one of the organizations to receive contributions in his name. Those who wish to make a donation to honor President Reagan may call (800) 272-3900 or donate online at www.alz.org/donate/RR/eprocess1.asp.

A fitting tribute to Ronald Reagan, his life, and his legacy would be to join with the Alzheimer’s Association to create a world without Alzheimer’s disease — and it is within our reach.

Sheldon Goldberg is president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, the world leader in Alzheimer’s research and support.

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