Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias change the way people remember, think, and act. These diseases can be devastating for the individuals who have them and for their families and caregivers. Taking action against Alzheimer’s and related dementias is a priority for the federal government.
The National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA), signed into law in January 2011, called for a coordinated national plan to accelerate research and improve care and services for people living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias and their families.
As the economic costs of care continue to climb — along with costs associated with loss of independence and quality of life — we are more driven than ever to discover, develop, disseminate, and implement solutions that will improve the lives of those with dementia, their caregivers, and their communities.
Prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025
Optimize care quality and efficiency
Expand supports for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families
Enhance public awareness and engagement
Track progress and drive improvement
Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death for Americans. In 2017, it accounted for an estimated 120,000 deaths.
An analysis conducted by NIH-supported researchers found that total social costs from health care and caregiving spending for a person with probable dementia in the last five years of life was an estimated $287,000, compared with $175,000 for an individual with heart disease and $173,000 for someone with cancer.
Agencies across the federal government support efforts to carry out the National Plan.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is made up of Institutes, Centers, and Offices that conduct and fund research into all aspects of human health. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) leads NIH’s efforts in clinical, behavioral, and social research in Alzheimer’s and related dementias through efforts aimed at finding ways to treat and ultimately prevent the disorder. NIA collaborates closely with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), which manages a research portfolio targeting Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias. NIA and NINDS work with Institutes and Centers across NIH to fund related projects. NIH also collaborates with the Department of Veterans Affairs to leverage health data from millions of older veterans to contribute to Alzheimer’s research.
NIH-funded research is conducted both in NIH laboratories and at institutions and small businesses around the country. A cornerstone of NIH’s Alzheimer’s research is a group of more than 30 Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers across the U.S. These centers conduct research to advance scientific discoveries, provide research resources for the broader research community, and work to translate research advances into improved diagnosis, treatment, and care. NIA also supports several large infrastructure programs designed to support drug development, scientific collaboration, data sharing, and clinical research.
In addition, NIA and NINDS have announced the development of a groundbreaking new research center on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. The Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Research (CARD) will bring together scientists from multiple NIH Institutes and Centers to support basic, translational, and clinical research on Alzheimer’s and related dementias. The center’s efforts will complement and enhance the work of thousands of researchers working across the globe to find a treatment or cure for these diseases.