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Local Advocates Encouraged by Expected Boost in Alzheimer's Research Funding day

The local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association is encouraged by an unprecedented boost in federal funding to find possible new treatments or a cure for the disease.

"We can't sustain this,” said Teresa Galbier, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association of Rochester and the Finger Lakes Region. “ It's going to bankrupt our society by the middle of the century if there isn't a stop put to this terrible, horrible disease."

Congressional leaders announced that they intend to provide the National Institutes of Health with an additional $350 million dollars to fund studies of the disease. That would bring NIH Alzheimer's disease research to nearly $1 billion a year.

Galbier believes lawmakers were strongly persuaded because scientists are ready to explore possible new treatments, and by estimates that Medicare spending for Alzheimer's will more than quadruple by 2050.

"But,” she said, “If there is a treatment delay in the onset of Alzheimer's by just five years, we can save Medicare $345 billion in the first ten years alone."

By 2025, an estimated 7.1 million Americans over the age of 65 will have Alzheimer's disease.

The estimated number of Alzheimer’s patients in the nine-county Rochester region served by the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is 30,000 to 35,000. Galbier said that is a conservative estimate, because about half of those believed to have the disease are not diagnosed.