Senators call for office devoted to Alzheimer's research

Share this content:
Two U.S. senators Wednesday introduced a proposal that would create an Office of the National Alzheimer's Project in the White House to coordinate research into treating and eradicating Alzheimer's disease.

Sens. Mel Martinez (R-FL) and Evan Bayh (D-IN) introduced the measure to prepare the healthcare system "to meet the needs of the growing number of Alzheimer's patients." In a statement, they referred to recent statistics showing that up to half of seniors over the age of 85 will be affected by Alzheimer's. A recent census bureau report, An Aging World: 2008, finds that the over-80 population is the fastest growing cohort in the world. Martinez and Bayh aim to coordinate the best practices of both government and non-government agencies to "hopefully one day provide a cure."

In other Alzheimer's news, researchers at the University of California, Irvine, have used neural stem cells to reverse the effects of Alzheimer's disease in mice that have been genetically modified to exhibit Alzheimer's symptoms. The report, which appears in the July 20 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the stem cells acted like "fertilizer for the brain," creating neural connections and improving cognitive function among the mice.