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Date: October 31st, 2002

Washington, D.C. - Pennsylvanians have great expectations to live long, healthy lives and are willing to pay more for new medicines and medical treatments that will keep them out of nursing homes, according to a new survey released today by the not for profit Alliance for Aging Research.

Hopes are high in Pennsylvania with six out of ten residents (63%) expecting to enjoy life more as they get older, and more than seven out of ten having confidence medical science will find cures to Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and diabetes in their lifetimes. This optimism is coupled with an understanding that such research breakthroughs come with a cost. Similar numbers (70%) say they would be willing to pay more for medicine and medical treatments if it would increase their chances of staying healthy longer and out of a nursing home. 

"Pennsylvania residents, like most Americans, have very high hopes for a long and healthy life," said Alliance Executive Director Daniel Perry. "They are counting on new medicines and medical breakthroughs and are willing to pay the price for better treatments. They recognize that we depend on new discoveries from medical research to reduce or eliminate the threat of age-related diseases like Alzheimer's and cancer." 

Pennsylvanians view medical research as good public policy to care for greater numbers of older people. Investing more in medical research to keep people healthier longer will save billions in the long run on government spending on health care for older Americans, according to 78% of people across the Commonwealth. Philadelphia (79%) and Pittsburgh (78%) area residents, each look for health care savings from medical research. There is strong feeling (84%) that helping to keep people healthier longer will reduce the burden of care on younger people. Adding to the anxiety of aging, 70% of Pennsylvanians have a strong personal fear that they may spend the last years of their lives in a nursing home. 

A majority of Pennsylvanians (51%) believe that medical science should do all it can to find cures and better treatments as the top reason to invest in medical research. Having an older family member with an age-related disease (19%) and the financial cost to society of treating diseases (15%) were also factors in supporting aging related health research. 

The survey of 500 Pennsylvania residents was conducted for the Alliance by Belden Russonello & Stewart, an independent public opinion research firm through random sample telephone interviews from October 19 to October 22, 2002. The margin of sampling error for the entire survey is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence. 

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Founded in 1986, the Alliance for Aging Research is a nonprofit, independent organization dedicated to supporting and accelerating the pace of medical discoveries to vastly improve the universal human experience of aging. The Alliance combines the interests of top scientists, public officials, business executives and foundation leaders to promote a greater national investment in research and new technologies that will prepare our nation for the coming senior boom, and improve the quality of life for today's older generation.