UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Praises Proposed New National Risk Reduction Goal for Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias
NAPA Advisory Council recommends 15 percent reduction in prevalence of 10 risk factors by 2030
Washington, D.C. (July 19, 2021) – UsAgainstAlzheimer’s today praised the decision by the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) Advisory Council to add a new risk reduction goal to the national plan to effectively treat and prevent Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. It called on Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to incorporate this goal into the National Plan update and act on the recommendations immediately.
“This bold and necessary step forward in the drive to end Alzheimer’s disease recognizes that as work continues to find effective treatments for Alzheimer’s and related dementias, our nation must do much more to help reduce the risk of getting the disease in the first place,” said George Vradenburg, chairman and co-founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “We urge Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to add this risk reduction goal and the related strategies to achieve it to the national plan update that he is expected to send to Congress this fall.”
The Advisory Council voted to recommend the new goal to reduce prevalence of Alzheimer’s and related dementias, calling for a 15 percent reduction by 2030 in prevalence of 10 key risk factors. These risk factors include:
- Unhealthy alcohol use
- Hearing loss
- Mid-life hypertension
- Physical inactivity
- Poor diet quality and obesity
- Poor sleep quality and sleep disorders
- Tobacco use
- Traumatic brain injury
An aggressive 15 percent reduction per decade in the prevalence of these risk factors could result in up to 1.2 million fewer people with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2050.
The Advisory Council’s action is the latest to reflect a growing body of evidence that shows that dementia is not simply a normal part of aging, and that actions can be taken to slow, delay, or possibly even prevent cognitive decline. Last July, the Lancet Commission released new research showing that managing a dozen risk factors could prevent or delay around 40 percent of worldwide dementia cases.
Nearly 200 organizations and leaders are calling for adoption of a national prevention goal for Alzheimer’s and related dementias, and the Advisory Council’s recommendation is an important step toward that goal.
“The Advisory’s Council has recognized the critical importance in the efforts to improve health and cognitive health of focusing on communities at greatest risk and eliminating barriers to quality healthcare services,” Vradenburg said. “Our work has shown the conditions in places where people are born, live, learn, work, and play, known as social determinants of health (SDOH), can have a profound effect on a person’s health and their risk for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The Council recommendations rightfully highlight the importance of addressing social determinants such as racism and poverty and we strongly support this comprehensive approach.”
The NAPA Advisory Council’s risk reduction subcommittee, which was charged with developing a national goal to prevent or delay onset of Alzheimer’s and related dementias, is led jointly by Lisa McGuire of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kelly O’Brien of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s and Matthew Baumgart of the Alzheimer’s Association.
UsAgainstAlzheimer’s exists to conquer Alzheimer’s disease. We take on the toughest problems; bring all of “Us” together to break down barriers; advocate for research that will speed treatments to market; and drive changes that matter most to people living with the disease. We will not rest until brain-span equals lifespan - for everyone.