Survey Accelerated Treatment Needed For Alzheimers Disease

Survey Accelerated Treatment Needed For Alzheimers Disease

As the​ first baby boomers turn 60 this year, they are beginning to​ confront the​ consequences of​ growing older. a​ new survey shows the​ majority of​ boomers are anxious about how Alzheimer's disease (AD) will affect their health and​ quality of​ life. at​ the​ same time, many boomers said they are frustrated with the​ government's and​ the​ U.S. Food and​ Drug Administration's (FDA) efforts to​ address the​ looming AD crises.

"These survey findings underscore the​ fact that when baby boomers are asked to​ address the​ potential of​ Alzheimer's in​ their future, they are clearly not ready emotionally, psychologically or​ financially," said Daniel Perry, executive director of​ the​ Alliance for​ Aging Research and​ chair of​ the​ ACT-AD Coalition, which commissioned the​ survey.

About Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's disease, which is​ universally fatal, affects 4.5 million Americans and​ causes millions more to​ leave the​ workforce to​ care for​ loved ones who eventually need around-the-clock attention. as​ the​ disease progresses, people suffer severe cognitive deterioration, confusion, disorientation, personality and​ behavior change and​ eventually death. Estimates suggest that by 2018, Alzheimer's disease will affect one in​ 10 people over age 65, or​ 5.6 million Americans-and the​ cost of​ care will increase 75 percent to​ about $160 billion annually in​ Medicare costs alone.

The ACT-AD (Accelerate Cure/Treatments for​ Alzheimer's Disease) Coalition is​ launching a​ campaign to​ call attention to​ the​ urgency of​ the​ Alzheimer's disease crisis and, at​ the​ same time, the​ lack of​ a​ well-defined approach in​ the​ U.S. for​ swift delivery and​ access to​ promising transformational therapies that could halt or​ reverse the​ disease.

"Alzheimer's is​ a​ cruel disease that has been on the​ back burner of​ science for​ 100 years but no one is​ immune to​ it​ and​ the​ toll will be staggering unless baby boomers wake up to​ the​ threat and​ do something about it," said Meryl Comer, Emmy Award-winning television journalist and​ full-time caregiver for​ her husband, who was diagnosed with AD at​ age 58. "When the​ onset of​ the​ disease is​ early for​ a​ loved one, it​ is​ like being a​ witness to​ your own future, and​ I am terrified for​ us all."

Key Survey Findings

• Boomers said they place top priority on new drugs that could change the​ course of​ Alzheimer's disease, feel that the​ FDA should give priority review to​ these drugs, expect the​ right to​ decide whether to​ use them and​ are willing to​ accept a​ degree of​ risk with promising drugs.

• Ninety to​ 95 percent of​ respondents said that they would either be unprepared or​ would find life "not worth living" if​ they were forced to​ face limitations common to​ AD by the​ time they were 70.

• Eighty percent of​ respondents said that their current savings would not be sufficient to​ cover the​ cost of​ care if​ they were diagnosed and​ 81 percent said the​ same thing about their families' savings. Eighty-three percent said they are worried that the​ health care system is​ underprepared for​ the​ coming Alzheimer's crisis.

• Only 8 percent of​ respondents feel that current AD treatments are adequate. Eighty percent are willing to​ take experimental treatments that have the​ potential for​ stopping the​ disease and​ preserving their quality of​ life, even if​ significant health risk were involved. Ninety percent of​ respondents felt that drugs that have the​ potential to​ preserve quality of​ life for​ AD patients should be given the​ same priority review and​ fast-track status that the​ FDA gives to​ drugs for​ other life-threatening diseases.

• When provided with an​ overview of​ the​ FDA's current review policy for​ Alzheimer's drugs, 84 percent said they feel that more should be done and​ over 75 percent feel that Alzheimer's should be made a​ top priority.

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