Last Wednesday the Alliance for Aging Research released the 7th volume of The Silver Book series. This latest volume focuses on vision loss and was released in partnership with the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) during their Decade of Vision: 2010-2020. This is the second vision loss volume and includes updated data on age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma—which along with cataract are the eye diseases that disproportionately impact older Americans. This new volume also highlights the exciting changes and discoveries in vision research and treatment from the past five years.
This week’s press event announcing an immediate $50 million infusion of NIH funding to Alzheimer’s research—along with commitments to include an additional $80 million in research dollars and $26 million in services and supports in the President’s FY 2013 budget—was monumental on a number of fronts.
New air standards issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in December are expected to have far-reaching effects on both pollution and public health. The new standards fall under the Clean Air Act’s power to control pollutants from coal and oil-fired power plants, and slashes allowable emissions of all hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) including metals like mercury and arsenic, acid gases, and particulate matter. Power plants have 3 years to conform to the new requirements and once fully in effect, the EPA estimates that the standards will reduce mercury emissions alone by as much as 90%.
In a time of skyrocketing health care costs, both the private and public sectors struggle to balance economics with access to high quality health care. Evidence from comparative effectiveness research (CER) and “head-to-head” clinical trials is increasingly being used in health care treatment decision-making around the globe, but how will this affect access to quality care? More importantly, where will the public draw the line between cost and access?
The President announced plans late last year to create a National Bioeconomy Blueprint. This Blueprint would detail government-wide steps “to harness biological research innovations to address national challenges in health, food, energy, and the environment.” The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy recently solicited comments to inform the Blueprint.
This week in the Wall-Street Journal Dr. Els Torreele, director of the Access to Essential Medicines Initiative of the Open Society Foundation's Public Health Program based in New York, and Dr. Josh Bloom, director of chemical and pharmaceutical sciences at the American Council on Science and Health also based in New York, were asked an interesting question; should patents on pharmaceuticals be extended to encourage innovation?
A group of aging and Alzheimer’s advocates will be meeting this week with the senior leadership of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to call for an increase in funding for the National Institute on Aging (NIA). In advance of this meeting, the group has orchestrated a sign-on letter to demonstrate widespread support for $1.4 billion, an increase of $300 million, in the FY 2013 NIH Budget to support the NIA. A similar letter was generated last year and garnered more than 400 signatures.
Many of you may still have this phrase ringing in your ears if you traveled with children for any length of time this past holiday season. Representatives from the ACT-AD Coalition, chaired by the Alliance for Aging Research, heard these same words almost two years ago, not uttered from the mouths of babes, but rather by prominent officials at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a conversation regarding evidence to support the use of biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease in clinical trials for “disease-modifying” therapies.