The Coming Alzheimer's Catastrophe

Post on the impact Alzheimer's Disease will place on our country, the economy

PhRMA StaffFebruary 10, 2011

Derek Thompson over at The Atlantic had an interesting post on his blog the other day looking at how the growing population of 65 and older is driving communications related and other technologies as well as businesses to meet their special needs.

It's a reminder that the growing population of seniors both here in America and around the world have a variety of needs to be met, especially when it comes to health care. Finding ways to meet these needs is both a healthcare priority as well as an economic imperative.

Take Alzheimer's disease, for example. According to the Alzheimer's Association, by 2050, the number of Americans with Alzheimer's is projected to grow to between 11 and 16 million, costing our economy nearly $1.8 trillion a year. That's more than the current U.S. Department of Defense budget and nearly 25 times more than the 2010 Department of Homeland Security budget.

Progress has been made in diagnosing the condition and there are hopeful signs of new treatments. America's biopharmaceutical research companies are now working on nearly 100 new treatments to fight Alzheimer's. There is still no cure in sight. Alzheimer's is, in short, a tsunami headed our way, threatening the well being of our families and potentially crippling our economy.

All of the potential advances in communications and other technologies designed to help seniors and keep them connected to the world will be of little use if we're not also investing in and providing incentives for researching and developing needed medicines to fight Alzheimer's disease and other conditions impacting the elderly.

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