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Experts Discuss Global Threat Of Alzheimer’s Disease At House Subcommittee Hearing

“Alzheimer’s experts urged U.S. lawmakers on Thursday to increase funding for research of the debilitating disease and to push international policymakers to pay more attention to its global impact,” Reuters reports (Steenhuysen, 6/23).

Speaking before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights, a panel of Alzheimer’s experts said the disease, which currently affects 24-37 million people worldwide, could affect 115 million people by 2050, as people are living longer. This increase “must be considered a serious fiscal danger, experts said,” Agence France-Presse reports (Sheridan, 6/23).

Subcommittee Chair Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) “backed calls from advocacy groups to include a discussion of Alzheimer’s in an upcoming U.N. summit on non-communicable diseases and to hold an international conference on the issue,” CQ HealthBeat reports. Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and subcommittee ranking Democrat Donald Payne (N.J.) joined Smith in his concern, according to CQ HealthBeat. “Smith and Markey have sent a letter (.pdf) signed by 28 lawmakers to U.N. General Assembly President Joseph Deiss asking the international organization to include Alzheimer’s disease in the U.N. Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases in September,” and the pair “also co-wrote legislation (PL 111-375) that President Obama signed in January which calls on the administration to create a strategic plan to fight Alzheimer’s,” the news service notes (Adams, 6/23).