New report highlights need for Alzheimer's research

A new report has compelled one of the leading advocates for Alzheimer's research in the U.S. Senate to renew a call on the federal government to significantly boost research funding for the disease, or face a near quadrupling of treatment costs over the coming decades.

In a statement released Friday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) called on the government to increase its Alzheimer's research funding to $2 billion in fiscal 2016, a figure supported by the Alzheimer's Advisory Council and proposed in a new report. The chair of the Senate Special Committee on Aging and co-chairs the Congressional Alzheimer's Task Force, Collins said the amount is needed to meet an established goal of treating and preventing the disease over the next 10 years.

Her remarks came shortly after the release of a new report from the Alzheimer's Association, “Changing the Trajectory of Alzheimer's Disease: How a Treatment by 2025 Saves Lives and Dollars.”

Collins said she believes the government would recoup its investment within three years of a treatment becoming available.

According to the report, care for Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia will cost $226 billion this year alone and could skyrocket to $1.1 trillion by 2050 if a cure isn't found. Medicare and Medicaid currently pay about 68% of the costs.

“Alzheimer's is a devastating disease that takes a tremendous personal and economic toll on both the individual and family,” Collins said in her Feb. 6 statement. “This new report on the national trajectory of the disease offers a very troubling, yet not surprising, assessment that underscores why it is so critical for our nation to invest more federal dollars to finding better treatments, and ultimately a cure for Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.”

Collins and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have authored a bipartisan resolution declaring that the goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer's by 2025 to be an “urgent national priority.”