Friday, July 29, 2011


Today, at the recommendation of my dear friend Jami, who works for the KU Alzheimer's & Memory Center and read over my fundraising letter for me, I went sniffing around for some statistics to add.

What I found has me totally pissed off. I tend to focus mostly on the devastating social effects of the disease, but the financial effects are staggering in their magnitude. Alzheimer's is costing our government $183 billion this year alone. That's $11 billion more than 2010, four times the national inflation rate. With new Americans developing symptoms every 69 seconds, by the time I'm 70, this amount will have ballooned to $1.1 trillion. After all, Alzheimer's and related dementias are the 6th-ranked killer of Americans today, and it's the ONLY one without a cure, hope of prevention, or way of decelerating the process.

(Other diseases rounding out that top ten have mortality rates that actually fell between 2000-2008, including heart disease, stroke, prostate/breast cancer, and HIV. Alzheimer's deaths, in contrast, rose 66%.)

Now, this isn't the space for discussing/debating politics, at least as long as BOTH sides are ignoring the issue. But seriously - with all this talk about national spending and expenses and debt ceilings and all this goddamn bickering in Washington, it kind of makes you wonder why the hell finding a cure isn't in the national interest.

I mean, for Christ's sake, REAGAN had Alzheimer's.

So here's my solution. Every time a politician or talking head goes out and throws the name Reagan around in any kind of political fiscal discussion, they should be required to donate $10 to Alzheimer's research. Stop blathering already, do some good, and put your money where your rapidly flapping mouth is.

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