Fight against Alzheimer's deserves support
About 10,000 baby boomers retire every day, part of a demographic wave that creates a host of public policy issues, ranging from age discrimination to the solvency of Social Security.
One tragic aspect of the growing baby boom generation is that it virtually guarantees a substantial increase in Alzheimer's disease, simply because the current wave of aging Americans is physically healthier, generally, than its predecessors and likely to achieve a higher average age.
According to federal estimates, about 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease and the number is likely to double over the next decade, along with its associated costs that the government estimates at $2 trillion over 10 years.
Last month the Obama administration launched an effort aimed at not just controlling, but eradicating Alzheimer's disease by 2025.
The initiative began with funding for clinical trials of promising treatments - an $8 million test of an insulin nasal spray and a broader preventive effort among highest-risk individuals, to which the National Institutes of Health will contribute $16 million.
Mr. Obama's proposed fiscal year 2013 budget includes $100 million for the initiative - $80 million for research and the rest for education, care-giver support and improved data collection to further research.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius emphasized that the effort is "national" rather than "federal," in that it will combine public and private resources into a coordinated attack on Alzheimer's and related dementia. It deserves the broadest possible support along those same lines.