November 2008

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease and Family Caregivers Awareness Month

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed November National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.  Twenty five years later, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease has grown steadily and the focus on finding a cure is greater than ever.

In order to support both caregivers and those afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, several members of the ACT-AD coalition recognized National Alzheimer’s Disease and Family Caregivers Awareness Month.  On November 18, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America sponsored a National Memory Screening Day.  Participating sites collaborated with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America to offer free confidential screenings for dementia along with follow-up resources and educational information about aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and memory. On November 20, the National Alliance for Caregiving held a Capitol Hill briefing to recognize National Family Caregivers Month.  The briefing highlighted findings from a first ever study of Hispanic caregiving in theUnited States.  Some key findings of the study are that one out of every three Hispanics are caregivers compared to one out of every five non-Hispanics, and one-third of all Hispanic caregivers are caring for two or more people at the same time.

ACT-AD applauds its members’ efforts to focus attention both the disease and the needs of caregivers during this month.

To read more about the Alzheimer’s Foundation’s National Memory Screening Day, click here.

To view the full National Alliance for Caregiving study, click here.

Note from the Chairman

The result of this month’s Presidential election offers ACT-AD a new opportunity to make real strides in advancing Alzheimer’s therapy review as a top national priority. The newly-elected President has clearly articulated a desire to improve healthcare in this country. The incoming administration will be examining what will be required to make this campaign promise a reality.

Over the past two years, ACT-AD has been working directly with the current leadership of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to heighten their awareness of the crisis situation as the number of Alzheimer’s patients increases at an unprecedented rate. The coalition has worked with FDA to bring patient and caregiver participation into the review process for new AD therapies and to streamline intra-agency dialogue on key areas where more collaboration is necessary. We recognize the positive steps the agency has taken. We hope that the appointment of a new FDA Commissioner will allow the agency to work with all stakeholders to explore ways that scientific advances can be incorporated into the Alzheimer’s treatment evaluation process, in an effort to provide more thorough and consistent review.

I appreciate your commitment to the coalition’s efforts and look forward to working with each of you to ensure that more effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease can be made available to patients and their families who need them.

Dan Perry