Alzheimer’s disease has taken an unfortunate step in front of the national news spotlight as of late. The last two evenings, I have seen features on the evening news highlighting the devastating effects of the disease both as a public health epidemic and as a personal, family struggle.

A new report by the Alzheimer’s Association has astounding data on the spread of the disease. According to the report, every 70 seconds, another person develops Alzheimer’s. It’s now become the 6th leading cause of death, and millions are living with the disease in the United States with ever increasing numbers in the near future. Probably one of the most regrettable facts is that there is no cure or adequate therapy to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Many drugs are in the pipeline, but they are being bottle necked by stringent policies and insufficient funding.

The ACT-AD coalition, chaired by the Alliance for Aging Research, has been working for the last several years to address the need for a greater focus on innovation and acceleration of therapies to treat this disease. The coalition has made great progress in reaching out to key researchers, scientists, and members of regulatory and government bodies to make this a top public health priority. Let’s hope that this recent sobering news about the Alzheimer’s epidemic encourages an increased focus on finding a cure and that coalitions, like ACT-AD, are successful in accelerating the development of that cure.

This post was written by Valerie Hagan, former Health Programs Coordinator at the Alliance.