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Alzheimer’s: In More Ways Than One, the Costliest Disease

Posted By Tamara Lytle On February 27, 2014 @ 8:27 am In Washington Watch | Comments Disabled

"Zack and Miri Make a Porno" Los Angeles Premiere [1]Alzheimer’s disease accounts for more U.S. health care spending than any other disease, and that share will skyrocket as the nation’s population ages, experts told members of a Senate health subcommittee [2] on Feb. 26.

Research shows that 14.7 percent of Americans 71 and older had dementia in 2010 and that the condition, on average, was associated with $41,685 a year in medical and informal-care costs, said Michael D. Hurd [3], director of the RAND Center for the Study of Aging. Dementia – the vast majority of which is Alzheimer’s - costs the nation more than $109 billion a year, more than heart disease or cancer, he said. By 2040, as the nation ages, Hurd continued, the annual cost will be more than $379 billion.

Comedian and actor Seth Rogen spoke about Alzheimer’s from a personal perspective. His mother-in-law, he said, couldn’t speak or manage basic functions by the time she was 60 because of the disease. “The situation is so dire,” he said, “it caused me - a lazy, self-involved, generally self-medicated man-child – to start an entire charity organization.”

YouTube Preview Image [4]

Rogen founded Hilarity for Charity [5] to support families and research. Rogen says on the organization’s website that that he aims “to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s among a younger generation.” The site adds, “For far too long, Alzheimer’s has been wrongly categorized as ‘an old person’s disease’ and it’s time for a change. With the rapid rate at which the disease is growing, it’s time to get the younger folks, who will be the older folks before too long, involved.”

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said that finding a cure for Alzheimer’s is critical to reining in health care costs. Of every $27 the nation spends through Medicare and Medicaid to treat Alzheimer’s patients, he noted, only $1 is spent on research. Delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s by an average of five years, he said, could save the nation $447 billion by the year 2050.

Francis S. Collins, M.D., director of the National Institutes of Health, talked about advances in Alzheimer’s research [6] but hastened to warn: “This kind of science is not a 100-yard dash; it’s a marathon.”

 

Photo: EdStock/istockphoto

 


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URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/02/27/alzheimers-in-more-ways-than-one-the-costliest-disease/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/iStock_000017523269Medium.jpg

[2] told members of a Senate health subcommittee: http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/webcasts.cfm?method=webcasts.view&id=ac30b75a-65a5-4958-8260-e64f070beaf7

[3] Michael D. Hurd: http://www.rand.org/about/people/h/hurd_michael_d.html

[4] Image: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHqx3-mfHAY

[5] Hilarity for Charity: http://www.hilarityforcharity.org/

[6] advances in Alzheimer’s research: http://www.nih.gov/about/director/congressionalhearings/02262014alzheimersdisease.htm

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