by Dr. Richard Hodes Office of the Director (OD).
Ready for a new year of tackling the many opportunities and challenges in research on aging related biology, diseases and wellness? NIA is off to another monumental start: Our FY2020 budget indicates continued congressional support for our work that is enabling unprecedented advances, including efforts to combat Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (AD/ADRD). Specifically, this year’s budget includes a 3.3 percent increase in NIA’s general appropriation plus an additional $350 million designated for AD/ADRD, bringing NIA’s total budget to $3.5 billion and the NIH-wide spending target for AD/ADRD to $2.818 billion.
With these increases, NIA remains, budget-wise, the fourth largest of the 27 NIH Institutes and Centers, and the largest public funder of AD/ADRD research in the U.S.
To sustain the momentum, it is absolutely essential to increase the number and diversity of participants in AD/ADRD clinical trials. NIA’s substantial recruitment and retention efforts are designed to enhance efforts in this area nationwide.
We are also strengthening our support for research to help those living with AD/ADRD and their caregivers. Our work this year will include hosting the National Research Summit on Care, Services, and Supports for Persons with Dementia and Their Caregivers in Bethesda March 24 and 25. Of note, the draft findings of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Evidence-based Practice Center Program systematic evidence review on AD/ADRD care/caregiving interventions will be released for public comment during this meeting. Although this reflects only the first step of a two-part study, it will provide initial indications about which interventions are showing promise for wider dissemination and implementation.
On other research fronts, NIA recently hosted an intriguing Geroscience Summit and is exploring additional ways to keep this evolving scientific field moving forward while broadening interest among stakeholder communities. We are building on recent research success in healthy aging, including non-drug interventions for diseases and conditions affecting older people, falls prevention and supporting the health needs of diverse populations of older adults.
NIA is also continuing our emphasis on and making gains in data- and resource-sharing to fortify the research community and amplify the impact of public spending. We look forward to updates on new and existing data resources including the Healthy Cognitive Aging Project, multiple Initiatives and Resources from the Division of Neuroscience, the Health, Aging and Body Composition study, the AgingResearchBiobank, a broad range of Data Resources for Behavioral and Social Research on Aging, the CALERIE Research Network, the Longevity Consortium, the Longevity Genomics Project and others. In addition, our Research Center Collaborative Network remains an important catalyst for interdisciplinary, collaborative aging research nationwide.
These are just some of many examples of the research NIA is supporting toward the ultimate and overarching goal of the right treatments for the right people at the right times to help maintain health and independence as we age.