The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death among adults in the U.S. and it’s not just a disease of the elderly.
200,000 people under the age of 60 are living with Alzheimer’s.
Democrat Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey is promoting a bipartisan bill called the Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act.
The bill would ensure people who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease before age 60 can access programs and support services.
Clay Jacobs of the Greater Pennsylvania Alzheimers Assoc told the Senate Aging Committee that the CDC estimates 14 million people will be living with the disease by the year 2060.
“Over 200,000 folks are diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease so it is by no means a rare condition,” said Jacobs.
Senator Bob Casey said Congress must do more. Casey said research funding needs to be increased to really make an impact on the disease.
“We need billions of dollars more every year and we can certainly afford that for health research,” said Senator Casey.
Casey has co-sponsored legislation to provide additional access to benefits for people diagnosed under the age of 65.
“Focus on segments of our population that we sometimes overlook when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease. Those who are under the age of 65,” said Senator Casey.
In the hearing, senators from both parties vowed to work together to fund research for a cure and provide a comprehensive approach for care.
Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins said progress has been made in accelerating research and advancing care, but there’s more work to be done.