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.
[Source: 2011 Alzheimer's Fact Sheet]