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Obama to seek more Alzheimer’s research money

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is increasing spending on Alzheimer’s research — planning to surpass half a billion dollars next year — as part of a quest to find effective treatments for the brain-destroying disease by 2025.

In a two-part plan announced Tuesday, the National Institutes of Health immediately will devote an extra $50 million dementia research, on top of the $450 million a year it currently spends. The boost opens the possibility that at least one stalled study of a possible therapy might get to start soon.

Next week, President Barack Obama will ask Congress for $80 million in new money to spend for Alzheimer’s research in 2013.

 

“The science of Alzheimer’s disease has reached a very interesting juncture,” with promising new findings to pursue after years of false starts, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins told The Associated Press. “We would love to be able to come up with a way of bringing forward an even larger amount of support.”

Patient advocates have long said the nation’s spending on Alzheimer’s research is far too little considering the disease’s current and coming toll. More than 5 million people already have Alzheimer’s or related dementias, a number that, barring a medical breakthrough, is expected to more than double by 2050 because of the aging population. By then, the medical and nursing home bills are projected to cost $1 trillion annually.