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MUST READS 

A March 9, 2016 STAT News article reported that “A Senate package of biomedical innovation bills got bogged down in a partisan fight Wednesday over funding for the National Institutes of Health, foreshadowing more trouble ahead that could threaten the effort to accelerate the search for medical cures.” According to the article, “Democrats want to pump up the NIH budget, which went through years of decline before receiving a $2 billion increase in December, by giving it an automatic source of funds. Republicans, however, don’t like the “mandatory” funding approach because they want to pay for any increase by cutting other programs. Warren’s bill would guarantee annual funding for three White House medical research programs — Vice President Joe Biden’s cancer “moonshot” effort, the Precision Medicine Initiative, and the BRAIN Initiative — as well as work on therapies for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and other neurological illnesses.”

A March 9, 2016 Live Science article reported that “For the first time, scientists have used brain scans to track the development of Alzheimer's disease in adults with no symptoms.” According to the new article, “The new technique may lead to early detection and treatment of the disease, the researchers said. Until now, a definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease could only be made via an autopsy, in which a medical examiner observes the extent of the spread of two rogue proteins in the brain associated with the disease, called beta-amyloid and tau.”

A March 9, 2016 Tucson News Now article and broadcast segment highlighted the growing impact of Alzheimer’s on Medicare. According to the article, “Projections are that Alzheimer's will become a trillion dollar disease that will bankrupt Medicare if a treatment is not found…The cost to the patient is devastating and so is the impact on loved ones who care for him or her. More than 15 million people provide care and/or support for someone with Alzheimer's or related dementia, according to the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix.”

DEMENTIA AND FINANCIAL PLANNING 

A March 10, 2016 CFA Institute blog post highlighted the importance of elder care planning. According to the article, “Of course, not every major life event can be anticipated. But elder care is one item that should be given closer scrutiny — and not just elder care for your clients, but also for their parents and loved ones. As someone who was thrust into the elder care quandary without warning and with little to no knowledge of it, let me tell you what I have since found out the hard way…And aging is expensive. Especially in the United States. Barry Ritholtz illustrates the skyrocketing cost of health care spending by age and country in one amazing chart. For more context, in 2015 the national median monthly rate for an assisted living facility in the United States was $3,600, up about 2.9% from 2014. For a semi-private room in a nursing facility, the median daily rate was $220 — $250 for a private room — a roughly 4% increase from 2014. Dementia or memory care is altogether different and more costly, raising the financial stakes considerably.”

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