Today's Top Alzheimer's News
March 28, 2014
An interactive Newsweek article explores the impact of Alzheimer's and the lack of funding for research, the role of private philanthropy in medical research, and how robots could change the face of caregiving (read more).
- A March 27, 2014 Newsweek article reported on the lack of funding for Alzheimer's research despite its growing impact. According to the article, "Historically, Alzheimer's research has been grossly underfunded. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) dedicated $5.3 billion to cancer research in 2013, nearly $3 billion to HIV/AIDS, $1.2 billion to heart disease and $1 billion to diabetes. Alzheimer's research received just over $500 million....It is now the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., and a study published earlier this month suggested Alzheimer's deaths are dramatically undercounted. Women in their 60s are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's as breast cancer. And by the time a woman turns 65, her estimated lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer's is 1 in 6 (it's nearly 1 in 11 for men). Older African-Americans are about twice as likely as older whites to have Alzheimer's and other dementias."
- A March 27, 2014 Scientific American article reported on the impact of privately funded science and medical research. According to the article, "The personal interest is especially reflected in funding for rare and neurodegenerative diseases; even the richest people in the world know that they are not immune from cancer and Alzheimer’s disease so it’s in their own best interests to fund research in such areas. For instance Larry Page has a speaking problem while Sergey Brin carries a gene that predisposes him to Parkinson’s; no wonder Page is interested in a new institute for aging research. However the benefits that accrue from such research will aid everyone, not just the very rich. For instance the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation which was funded by well to do individuals whose children were stricken by the devastating disease gave about $70 million to Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The infusion partly allowed Vertex to create Kalydeco, the first truly breakthrough drug for treating a disease where there were essentially no options before. The drug is not cheap but there is no doubt that it has completely changed people’s lives."
- A March 29, 2014 The Economist article reported on the potential domestic service robots to help care for a growing elderly population. According to the article, "Looking after old people in homes might become easier with robots, be they mood enhancers like Paro or something more practical that can help careworkers lift and reposition their charges (Mr Kitashima says 70% of carers have bad backs). Yoshiyuki Sankai, perhaps Japan’s best-known robotics entrepreneur, has set up a company called Cyberdyne to make wearable systems that help people walk and lift things by adding artificial strength to their limbs. Robots may also make it possible for old people to stay independent in their own homes for longer."