President Obama discusses Alzheimer’s disease in State of the Union address

Posted under Blog on March 6th, 2013 by Editorial Team / No Comments

There was widespread praise for US President Barack Obama when he reiterated his commitment to spending on Alzheimer’s research in his recent State of the Union address.

For Americans living with Alzheimer’s and those caring for a loved one living with the condition, his words pitched him as a president who is serious about tackling what the World Health Organization describes as “a global public health priority”. The president’s comments were warmly welcomed from all political corners, even earning approval from some of his most vocal critics. In his address, the President referred to the return on investment seen from mapping the human genome, saying “every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy, every dollar”.

“Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer’s,” Obama said. “Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation. Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the space race.”

Commitment to beating Alzheimer’s makes good sense, at both social and economic levels.  In the United Kingdom alone, it’s estimated that the disease costs the economy around £23 billion annually.  

Around 4.7 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s. However, if progress is not made to tackle the disease, scientists fear this number could triple in the next few decades.

Recent news reports suggest that the US government is set to launch a wide-ranging program to examine the workings of the human brain and build a comprehensive map of its activity. Such a program would no doubt have far-reaching implications for our knowledge of the brain and diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Tags: Alzheimer's, Obama, WHO



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