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Alzheimer’s Research Budget for 2013 Questioned at Senate Hearing

Dana Larsen
By Dana LarsenApril 9, 2012
budget (Photo credit: 401K)

 It became clear at the Senate hearing that discussed the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) 2013 budget, that the $80 million proposed earlier this year by President Obama for Alzheimer’s research may not actually be going to that cause.

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With the government mission to cure Alzheimer’s disease by 2025 and the growing aging baby boomer population, there is a lot of focus on Alzheimer’s research and the money necessary to support this endeavor. But the $80 million contribution proposed by President Obama may be allocated to another budget, as discussed at the Senate hearing.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriation’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related agencies held a hearing to discuss the NIH budget for 2013. The Director of NIH, Richard J. Hodes, outlined his organization’s plans for the fiscal year, which included the following:

  • Research on basic mechanisms on aging
  • Grants to encourage more scientists to study aging research
  • Initiatives that encourage physical activity among older adults to improve senior fitness and quality of life

The pushback from Obama’s contribution came from Senator Tom Karkin (D-IA), Chairman of the subcommittee: “I’m a strong supporter of Alzheimer’s research, but this $80 million isn’t happening. NIH has the flexibility to direct a larger share of its funding to Alzheimer’s research within its own budget assuming two things: one, there are enough scientific opportunities to warrant an increase, and secondly that researchers submit enough high-quality applications.”

The funding requested by the President Obama was coming from the Prevention and Public Health Fun, which was deemed as not appropriate as Alzheimer’s research has not yet produced any “proven preventative measures.”

NIH’s Hodes remained committed to the research by saying, “The NIA leads the national effort to understand aging and to identify and develop interventions that will help older adults enjoy robust health and independence, remain physically active, and continue to make positive contributions to their families and communities.”

You can read the testimony and watch the complete hearing here: Hearing on NIH’s 2013 Fiscal Year Budget.

Watch this video where The Senate Special Committee on Aging holds a forum that discusses Quality of Care for Alzheimer’s Patients:

Dana Larsen
Dana Larsen
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