A version of this post also appeared on LillyPad.
Today is summer solstice, and we're joining the Alzheimer's Association in recognizing the Longest Day. It's a day to raise awareness that the people living with Alzheimer's, along with their caregivers, are still looking for answers. So are we. While preparing for an event this week, I was reminded by startling statistics, including the fact that we currently have no means to prevent, slow, or cure the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. That same disease currently affects 5.4 million Americans, and will cost the U.S. $236 billion in 2016 and approximately $1 trillion a year by 2050.
The growing impact of Alzheimer's disease has led economists, the health care industry and communities across the country to raise the alarm about this enormous public health threat. And while the world's population rapidly ages, this crisis will only become more serious, putting an enormous burden on families and caregivers and costing our health care system billions of dollars each year.
I bring these facts up not to instill fear or inspire feelings of dread, but rather to illuminate the hope that's on the horizon. After decades of research and perseverance, scientists have gotten closer to groundbreaking new therapies. For our part, we have invested time and effort to help lead the charge to end this devastating disease. What remains is the need for a final push, and one that aligns our policies with pathways to prevention. That's why, as part of this work, I am excited to announce the launch of the Alzheimer's Readiness Project.
The Alzheimer's Readiness Project will combine efforts to advocate on behalf of those with the disease, encourage effective and efficient research, and ensure a regulatory system that reflects the best science and thinking out there. With this initiative, we will support policies and laws that recognize innovation and investment that will make a real difference for those impacted by Alzheimer's.
Building on a solid foundation of ongoing partnerships, public education efforts, and events, we will provide a platform where people come together to discuss solutions and raise awareness of the need for and value of advancements in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.
Join us and The Hill on Thursday, June 23rd for the official launch of the Alzheimer's Readiness Project with our kickoff event "Pathways to Prevention: A Policy Discussion on Research & Treatments for Alzheimer's".
While the future of fighting this disease requires more than a single event, or even a single therapy, this marks the beginning of an important era in the effort to end Alzheimer's disease. We look forward to seeing you at the kick-off, and continue to work together to prevent, treat, and cure Alzheimer's.
You can register here to attend, or follow along on Twitter using #AlzheimersPolicy.