It's been more than a century since the first case of Alzheimer's was identified, and a cure has evaded scientists ever since. But today we are living on the brink of real breakthroughs in Alzheimer's research. Based on the conversations I've had with the nation's leading Alzheimer's researchers, I firmly believe that with the right investments and leadership, we can prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's disease by 2025--and we can even make a cure possible by that time.
That's why I've proposed rapidly ramping up our investment in Alzheimer's research to $2 billion per year--the level that leading researchers have determined is needed to prevent and treat the disease and make a cure possible in 10 years. This investment will also help us address a range of other neurodegenerative illnesses, like Parkinson's disease and dementia, and it will help us understand the link between Alzheimer's and other conditions like Down syndrome.
We've learned nearly everything we know about Alzheimer's in just the last 15 years. Thanks in part to significant federal funding, researchers are beginning to identify the genes and other biological factors that make some people more susceptible to the disease, along with promising methods of preventing and treating it. But it will take a dramatic new investment to accelerate the progress we're making and one day conquer this disease once and for all.
There is so much to learn and so much work to be done to find a cure for this dreaded disease. As with any research, we never know for sure what the results will be. But the progress we've made is encouraging--and the stakes are high. Throughout my career, I have met so many families caring for a loved one whose memories and mental function are slipping away. It's heartbreaking.
And it's financially straining for families. A few months ago,. He can't afford a full-time caregiver, and he has to work. So he does the only thing he can think to do: He takes his 84-year-old mother to work with him every day so that he can keep an eye on her and keep his job.
It's imperative that we find prevent, treat, and one day find a cure for Alzheimer's--and I have never been more optimistic that, by making the necessary investments in scientific discovery, we can make that happen.
This question originally appeared on Quora. - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:
- Hillary Clinton: Why will Hillary's role as a grandmother make her a better president; what specific public policies will this affect?
- Politics of the United States of America: What does "defunding" Planned Parenthood mean?
- Current Events in U.S. Politics: Is Obamacare helping or hurting the average U.S. citizen?